Tiger Woods making his fourth appearance on island
TGI Sports Editor
POIP’U — Without a points system, this year’s
Grand Slam of Golf would’ve been a tad less intriguing.
Without a points
system, the two-day November event at Poip’u Bay Golf Course, which brings the
winners of the year’s Majors to the island, would’ve been a head-to-head battle
between Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh.
Problem is, Woods — the Grand Slam’s
two-time defending champ — won the U.S. Open, British Open and PGA
Championship. Besides being the first player to do so since Ben Hogan in 1953,
the monumental accomplishment also meant the Grand Slam of Golf had to call on
its points system to locate two more competitors. As formally announced Monday,
Ernie Els, the No. 2-ranked player in the world, and Paul Azinger, in the top
30, will join Woods and Singh Nov. 21-22 in search of the $400,000 first prize.
The format of the tournament has yet to be announced.
“We’re very happy
with the field,” said Mike Castillo, the head professional at Poip’u Bay.
“Azinger’s never been to Kaua’i, and, of course, Tiger’s been here a couple of
“He’s always a nice draw.”
A likely understatement. Castillo
said that Woods drew galleries of 8,000-plus during his first appearance in
1997. After his performance in 2000, the 24-year-old golfer may draw three
times as many folks.
“We know it’s going to be busy, but it’s not going to
be bad,” Castillo said. “I think Tiger likes to come to this tournament because
he is allowed to enjoy himself.
“Yeah, he gets asked for autographs and
stuff, but he walks the grounds (at the Hyatt) and is allowed his space. Plus,
it’s a nice chance for him to make a few bucks.”
Which is what the state of
Hawai’i, and specifically the island of Kaua’i, would like the event to bring
Castillo said the the cash outlay to host the Grand Slam exceeds $1
“Between hosting the event, lost revenue and things like that, it
is costly,” Castillo said. “The owner of the resort puts up most of the money,
but the HTA (Hawai’i Tourism Authority) also helps out.”
In fact, the HTA
contributes $300,000 to host the event.
“We feel like we get our money’s
worth,” said Gary Baldwin, the Kaua’i representative for the HTA. “It’s nice
exposure for us.”
Exposure that puts Kaua’i on Turner Network Television
(TNT) during East Coast prime time, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., and broadcasts the
island in over 100 countries.
“We’re going to have spot stuff running that
will show off some of Kaua’i’s scenic spots,” Castillo said. “We’re looking
forward to another good event.”
Tiger Woods drives the ball off
the tee at the U.S. Open earlier this year. Woods, along with Ernie Els, Vijay
Singh and Paul Azinger will be on Kaua’i Nov. 22-23 for the Grand Slam of Golf.
The event will be held at Poip’u Bay Golf Course.