Tour urged to throw book at Tiger
Published 25/02/2010 | 05:00
US Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem is under increasing pressure to officially discipline Tiger Woods over the sex scandal that has rocked professional golf.
If the Tour is to be consistent, then Woods should be fined and/or suspended for a breach of the 2010 PGA Tour regulations pertaining to player conduct.
According to page 120 of the handbook: "Any member who shall be deemed guilty of conduct unbecoming a professional golfer while participating in a PGA Tour co-sponsored, approved or coordinated tournament, or activities related thereto (eg, practice rounds, hospitality events, etc), or who otherwise violates the provisions of Article VI and VII of these regulations shall be subject to fine, suspension and/or permanent disbarment from tournament play as provided in these regulations."
But while any such suspension only applies to on-course behaviour, try telling that to John Daly or Jim Thorpe who were slapped with suspensions for off-course transgressions.
Daly was sin-binned for six months in 2008 after being arrested for being intoxicated in a public place and Thorpe was told he couldn't play the Champions Tour while waiting a prison sentence for tax evasion.
But for all Daly's misdeeds, never before has a player of such stature as Woods brought the ancient game into such disrepute.
"We take the view that if something happens in your personal life, it is not subject for disciplinary action," said Finchem. "The fact that another individual or individuals made it public doesn't dissuade us from that attitude. I don't know of any other sport that disciplines a player for things like that in their private life."
Woods has already cost sponsors like Nike, AT&T and Gatorade a reported cool $12bn while crowd figures at US Tour stops are down 10-25pc when he doesn't play, and TV ratings are slashed in half
So, if the Commissioner Finchem and his US Tour are to be consistent, Woods should be publicly and officially shown the red card.
Meanwhile, Ian Poulter has shrugged off the exertions of his WGC-Accenture Match Play victory to take his place in the field for the delightfully named Waste Management Phoenix Open. In the immediate aftermath of his victory over Ryder Cup team-mate Paul Casey in Arizona on Sunday, Poulter admitted he was in two minds about competing this week.
"I'm not sure yet. I'm supposed to be," the Englishman joked.
"I've got a feeling I might be quite tired."
Poulter could not even afford much of a celebration at the weekend thanks to a 6.30 flight on Monday to record a television advert for one of his sponsors in California.
But the 34-year-old will still try to add a first strokeplay title on US soil to his matchplay victory at TPC Scottsdale, and will form the marquee group alongside world number three Phil Mickelson and Sony Open winner Ryan Palmer in the first two rounds.
Phoenix Open, Live, Sky Sports 2, 9.0pm