January 27th, 2012
04:59 PM ET

Why golf (and big business) still need Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods has joined many of the world's top golfers in Abu Dhabi for the European Tour event.
Tiger Woods has joined many of the world's top golfers in Abu Dhabi for the European Tour event.

Tiger Woods remains the biggest attraction in the world of golf. Despite a lackluster run that has lasted two full years, and being dogged by his off-course dramas, the former world No.1 has proven yet again why he can pull in a crowd with his season-opening appearance in the Middle East.

Abu Dhabi is an unusual place for him to start his season, but there were several key factors in his decision to begin the year on the European Tour.

Firstly, there was the lure of a healthy fee (estimated at $1.5 million) from sponsor HSBC to add value to its growing commitment to this hugely popular event. Secondly, there was the opportunity for him to kickstart his year by testing his latest mutation as a swinger of the golf club against the very best field in world golf. And thirdly, it represented a golden chance to begin his build towards the first major of 2012, the Masters Tournament in two months' time.

Woods has won the Masters on four occasions, most recently in 2005 when he defeated Chris DiMarco in a playoff and famously holed out his chip shot on the par-three 16th during a pulsating afternoon of golf. He's not won it since, and while tying the great Arnold Palmer for wins, he remains two precious victories away from Jack Nicklaus – who famously claimed his sixth Green Jacket at the age of 46 in 1986.

Majors are what motivate Woods the golfer. At 36 years of age he has more than enough time to match, and indeed surpass, Nicklaus' record haul of 18 major titles. With 14 majors in the bag, Woods has some serious achieving to do for the remainder of his career. While not impossible, it remains that he will have to win five more majors to become the undisputed "world's greatest."

That would represent a stunning career haul for any one of his peers. Only great rival Phil Mickelson comes close with four major victories - 10 shy of Tiger. It's now a question of desire, good health and smattering of good fortune.

Woods hasn't won a major since the U.S. Open in June 2008. His world imploded after crashing into a fire hydrant in November of 2009 and he has been in rehab, undergone surgery, been divorced and attempted several comebacks. He has been unable to tick all of the boxes, until now.

With a seemingly better balanced life off-course, new swing changes bedded in and a much healthier physique than has been the case in several years, Tiger Woods is back on the prowl.

For HSBC, he represents good value as the mirror of the bank's sports sponsorship and business strategies, helping spur growth in key markets like China, Brazil and here in the United Arab Emirates. Woods' inclusion in the field has the power to raise the non-golfing public's awareness of both the tournament and, most importantly, HSBC itself – one of the world's premier financial institutions.

Win or lose this week, Tiger Wood has returned to the stage that he thrives on, and that represents a win-win all-round.

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Filed under:  Golf
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Jens Riis

    I disagree. It's time to start focusing on golf, not on Tiger. As I see it, the game itself looses when the only thing that seems to matter is one guy. I for one seldom watch a tournament when Tiger's playing – he's virtually the only thing the TV shows, even when his play is substandard. I want to see golf, and Tiger's excess baggage. There are so many good players out there, and they often end up as background noise when the "star" is playing..

    January 27, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Reply
  2. Esther Nwogwonuwe

    Go! Go!! Tiger Wood Go!
    Welcome back, Tiger Wood
    I know U will always be back in style

    January 27, 2012 at 10:03 pm | Reply
  3. Esther Nwogwonuwe

    Tiger Woods, you remain the biggest attraction in the world of golf. The master

    January 27, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Reply
  4. Joseph L. Williams

    Both Tiger"s supporters and haters enjoy watching Tiger's attempted comeback. The supporters realize that he is good for increased interest in the game. TV ratings prove this fact!

    His haters enjoy his failures in golf and his personal failures.

    January 27, 2012 at 11:24 pm | Reply
  5. LineeCoolgod

    The Golf This is my life

    January 28, 2012 at 2:12 am | Reply
  6. Gilbert Castillo

    Tiger Woods is the bread and butter of golf today without tiger golf today is not so interestingly alive, even his peers player admittedly that without him getting sponsors with higher purse is waning. Therefore those who envy of him for his failure are dead wrong because this makes him more motivated to become the greatest man in golf history...

    January 28, 2012 at 2:25 am | Reply
  7. Robert Oh

    Welcome back Tiger.

    There is the one and only Tiger Woods and golfers the world over just couldn't wait for you to reclaim the world's No. 1 spot. The world's golfers never thought harshly of your jaunts and only focus on the way you electrified the world with your flair in golf.

    The golfing world needs you to be up there where you truly belong.

    Bobbshu

    January 28, 2012 at 9:42 am | Reply
  8. Tebandeke

    Hi Tiger, Pliz GO GO. Hope this will be your year & claim again the "The Tiger Slam".

    January 28, 2012 at 9:51 am | Reply
  9. Amanuel Babu

    TIGER is a KING of GOLF! GOLF=TIGER.The king is back and the Golf World will shine soon!He's in the mood! He has the got to do it as usual.

    WISHE YOU BEST LUCK!

    January 28, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Reply
  10. KK

    Agree Tiger Woods will always be remembered as one of the greatest golf players to set foot on this earth. And that will be as far as he goes until he start winning tournaments especially majors. It won't be easy for Tiger now because the number of quality gofers have increases. Just look at the resurgence of European Golfers. With names like Luke Donald, Rory MciLroy, Martin Kymer, Lee Westwood and many more. Not mentioning those from US, Australia and other part of the world. So until Tiger improve, I will choose to watch the more exciting Rory Mcilroy.

    January 28, 2012 at 11:03 pm | Reply
  11. sam

    ummm maybe without Tiger woods GOLF seems boring :DDD

    January 29, 2012 at 7:07 am | Reply
  12. Jens Riis

    The fact that golf seems to "need" Tiger, says something's wrong.

    January 29, 2012 at 11:18 pm | Reply
  13. Truong Cong Lam

    No Tiger no golf.

    January 31, 2012 at 11:19 pm | Reply
  14. NIC

    TIGER STILL THE WORLD'S GREATEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 2, 2012 at 5:40 am | Reply
  15. Ed Tham

    His golfing achievements, great as they have been, does not entitle him to scandalous behaviour, that much he has admitted to himself.
    He is a fallen idol who needs to redeem himself and I do not see young children now looking to him as their sports inspiration.
    Unless he walks the straight path, be humble and let his golf do the talking. Jack was/is his idol and he should look to 'the greatest' to learn how to live the decent life.
    All the best, Tiger.

    February 3, 2012 at 1:37 am | Reply
  16. Mr. John J. Sabrowski, BS Psychology, 1998

    The spectator world of golf cannot say who stays or who goes away from the game. It is all about the act of any individual player, on or off the course, that gives us golf fans the answer of how one or another player lasts. I am 67 years young. Never won in the game of golf, sill waiting for my first hole in one – thank you all.

    February 4, 2012 at 11:05 pm | Reply
  17. Billie

    He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone.

    February 4, 2012 at 11:52 pm | Reply
  18. R.Tropeano

    While it would be nice if the Tiger of yesteryear returns to the curcuit , I think the game has gotten along just fine without him. A fine group of young golfers have taken over and are bringing excitement on a weekly basis. These young men, including foreign born are very good and show respect for Tiger but no fear. I say Tiger will be lucky to win a major this year and far as the fans are concerned the competition is just fine, thank you!

    February 6, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Reply
  19. Kevin

    I love Tiger and always will. He's an amazing player and will make incredible achievements in the sport of Golf during his career!

    February 6, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Reply
  20. IMR

    My 86 year old mother got interested in golf when Tiger started and only watches when he is playing. Like it or not, every sport makes money when they have a player that can draw. Boxing "Ali" Hockey "Gresky" Baseball 'Babe" on and on.
    Money is the name of the game

    February 6, 2012 at 11:16 pm | Reply
  21. Sanj

    the rest come and go... win once in a while.... be spectacular once in a while... who wants to watch them... may be Rory.... we will have to wait and watch!!!!! On the other hand........
    Tiger.... creates drama does not ,matter what.. while winning , while losing or messing up his personal life... and all with a whole lot of dedication.!!!.. Go Tiger!!!!

    February 23, 2012 at 4:28 am | Reply
  22. TTi

    Hi,Tiger you bring joy to the game of golf,just go out in every tornament and have fun and you will bring the masters to us all.bless you.

    February 25, 2012 at 12:24 am | Reply
  23. steve balakrishna

    Tiger, Tiger,Tiger he is back. No one can play shots like he does he is brilliant and a shot maker he can turn deficit into surplus. He has master this game like nobody does on tour. Hold on your breath out there he is just starting. His comeback just begining. No Tiger No Golf
    He plays with excitemnt to watch that's why he is so special than the rest to watch. Go Tiger you know the start and you know how to end it.

    Steve.B

    March 6, 2012 at 3:11 am | Reply
  24. Andrew Warn

    Welcome back, Tiger ....
    GO Tiger.... Go Tiger....Go

    March 7, 2012 at 4:51 am | Reply
  25. Ida Harris

    TIGER WOODS IS GOLF, WITHOUT TIGER, GOLF IS DOA!!!!!

    March 12, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Reply
  26. Ray Hocking

    No doubt Tiger has done a lot for golf, but with the new crop of talent coming through, the game will continue to prosper. Just look at the impact Rory had on the WGC event in Florida.
    regards Ray

    March 14, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Reply
  27. Truong Cong Lam

    No Tiger , No Golf

    March 21, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Reply
  28. Tony

    Every golfer beginners, pros whoever in this generation owe TIGER WOODS his do respect. Without him right now the ratings on TV always go down check the stats. So please do't diss on Mr. Golf OH I meant
    TIGER WOODS

    March 22, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Reply
  29. KJ

    Tiger... He is everything to the sport of golf. No disrespect to other PGA golf players. Tiger brings hopes, motivations, inspiration, and dreams to people of all.

    They are only a few people who has these sort of capabilities in the sports arena, such as, Ali, Manny Pac Man, Babe, Gresky, Michael Jordan, and TIGER WOODS. They only share three things: First, bring inspiration to all. Second, unmatchable greatness. Lastly, No one is perfect.

    Go Tiger Go... Never look back and only primitive people live in the past!

    March 29, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Reply
  30. SC

    I don't play golf but I do watch when Tiger is in the hunt. I don't doubt that there are other great players current and coming up but if I had to name one, I couldn't. That is the difference. Like greats in other sports, his excellence draws the attention of those who are not your avid golf fans. Who else in golf can you say that about? He is in no way perfect but you have to admire what he has achieved and what we anticipate he can still achieve. Go Tiger!!

    March 29, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Reply
  31. CHARLES

    I can't play golf anymore either because of 4 injuries. but I do watch it every chance I get. It's always good to have Tiger in there even if he's not playing well. I think he's a threat when ever he's out there and the player's know that. good luck Tiger.

    May 18, 2012 at 9:15 pm | Reply
  32. Jenine Wahlenmaier

    Tiger woods is one of the best golf players ever, he is my idol. ,

    November 25, 2012 at 7:02 am | Reply
  33. sports

    Tiger woods govern the golf court. He is my hero.

    September 29, 2013 at 12:18 pm | Reply

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