Okay, I know that I may over-write about two of my favorite cultural obsessions, golf and New Orleans, but I just have to get this off my chest: Too many stars of the PGA Tour are skipping this weekend’s Zurich Classic, the New Orleans Tour stop being played at the Nicklaus-designed English Turn club (where I was a member for 12 years). As everybody knows, New Orleans really needs a boost, and the Tour was terrific in committing to return to the city soon after the hurricane. But too many of its stars haven’t come through. Tiger Woods has NEVER played in New Orleans, and apparently couldn’t even be bothered this time despite the good he could do for the suffering city. (Note: Tiger’s father is quite ill, so he now may not play ANY tourneys between now and the US Open, and my wishes go out to him and his family. But even before his father’s condition became a serious issue, Tiger wasn’t planning to play New Orleans. Hence the rasberry for him.) Vijay Singh won there just two years ago, but he’s skipping it. Ernie Els is skipping it. Ditto for Sergio Garcia. The same for Jim Furyk, Adam Scott, and Luke Donald, meaning that seven of the world’s ten top-ranked players will be no-shows. Also the same for 12th-ranked Jose Maria Olazabal, who was runner-up at English Turn in 1994, and… the list goes on. Davis Love III, who won at English Turn in 1995 in his very last chance to qualify for that year’s Masters: Not there. Justin Leonard, Tom Lehman, Fred Couples, Mike Weir, Stuart Cink, former New Orleans winner Lee Westwood, John Daly, all also are no-shows. New Orleans, which has loyally supported the tour for nearly 70 years, deserves better from the Tour’s top performers. A special thanks, therefore, to Phil Mickelson, Retief Goosen, and David Toms, who are the world-ranked top-10 players who WILL tee it up this week.
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