With only a few hours left for the world's most famous golfer to commit to play at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial (deadline is today for next week's tournament), we'd offer a few persuasive arguments why returning to Fort Worth for the first time in 15 years could be the key to getting Tiger Woods' game back on track for the U.S. Open. And, who are we kidding, we want to see him play in Cowtown again. Check out our 10 Reasons Why Tiger Needs to Come Back to Colonial.
10Have you seen the guy play lately?
He tied for 40th at the Masters, missed the cut at the Wells Fargo Championship and finished in another tie for 40th at The Players. Dude needs as much competitive golf as he can get before the U.S. Open, June 14-17.
9 It's been 15 years since he's played Colonial.
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That's too long. When you're THE dominant figure in your sport, you owe it to your fans to play PGA Tour events around the country, especially ones with such rich history such as Colonial.
8Tiger's Sunday red goes nicely with a plaid jacket.
Players such as Rickie Fowler and Sergio Garcia (both in the Colonial field this year) have turned the fairway into a runway, with bold colors and giant belt buckles. But nobody sells more gear than Tiger, and a win at Colonial could launch an entirely new fashion line. (Though we'd secretly love to see Fowler's Oklahoma State orange clash with the plaid jacket on Sunday this year.)
7Mr. Woods meet The Woodshed.
Tiger needs to come back if only to tear into a 16-hour smoked beef shin at Tim Love's new smokehouse along the banks of the Trinity River. The Woodshed is only a 2-iron stinger away from Colonial, and the food's phenomenal.
6It's a great chance to get fitted for some new clubs.
Tiger's Nike clubs are made in Fort Worth at the famous R&D facility called The Oven. Many Nike players (Carl Pettersson, for one), drop by during Colonial week. Tiger could get a new set of blades and maybe even a driver that hits straight.
5Recapture your youth.
We looked back at some photos of Tiger from the 1997 Colonial, before all the swing coaches and scandals, and he looked very relaxed. In fact, he was in position to win going into Sunday, when he shot a 72 and finished in a tie for fourth. Time to come back, go back in time and seal the deal.
4Joe LaCava would be a favorite in the caddie races.
Tiger plays fewer tournaments than most of the other top players, so his new caddie, Joe LaCava (who caddied for Dustin Johnson and Fred Couples), should be well rested for the race to the green at Colonial's 13th hole, home to the famed caddie races.
3Playing Colonial would be a good way to stick it to Phil.
A few years ago, Mr. Mickelson was the apple of Colonial's eye, starring in a series of funny Crowne Plaza ads, and hitting that amazing shot from the trees on the 18th to win in 2008. But Phil's turned fickle this year, playing the HP Byron Nelson Championship this week and skipping Colonial, even taking a few shots at minor course changes at Colonial. The time is now for Tiger to swoop in and steal all that adoration usually reserved for Lefty.
2Times have changed and so has Fort Worth.
When Woods played the Colonial in 1997, it was a few months after his Masters win and the ensuing controversy over Fuzzy Zoeller's racially insensitive comments. (The two actually had lunch at Colonial that year and Zoeller apologized in person.) But there were reports that a few people in the gallery kept up the drumbeat of racist remarks. That's certainly a reason to steer clear of a tournament, Tiger, but a lot has changed in Fort Worth in 15 years. The galleries at Colonial are among the most respectful and appreciative you'll find on tour.
1Get the ghosts of Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson on your side.
The icons grew up here and have become synonymous with the area's rich golf tradition. But since missing the cut at the 2005 Byron Nelson tournament, Woods has two-stepped around DFW completely. So have too many other players. It's time for Tiger to honor the history of the game, bury the hatchet (if there is one) and fine-tune his ball-striking at one of the best traditional courses in the country. Tiger, the road to your next major just might run through Fort Worth and Colonial.
Rick Press, 817-390-7701