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A golfing season that never ends

india Updated: Oct 15, 2009 01:01 IST

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Tiger Woods sure could use a break from golf. He played eight times in the last 11 weeks, his busiest span in nine years, and achieved more than some players do in a career. Woods won three times, was runner-up in three other tournaments and capped it off by winning all five of his matches at the Presidents Cup.

And after all that? He goes back to work in three weeks. Such is the never-ending season of golf, which has a sanctioned tournament every week until five days before Christmas. Two weeks later, another season begins.

Next up for Woods is a World Golf Championship in Shanghai, where he will be joined by the likes of Phil Mickelson, Geoff Ogilvy, Padraig Harrington and Sergio Garcia. That is followed by the Australian Masters and a $3 million appearance fee. Woods calls it a year in early December with the Chevron World Challenge, a silly-season event only in name because it now awards official world-ranking points.

“I think that it’s certainly one of the longer stretches I’ve had,” Woods said on Sunday at the Presidents Cup. “The only other stretch this long was back in 2000 at the end of the season – or end of the year.”

That span was daunting, indeed.

Plays Seven tourneys in eight weeks

Woods played seven times in eight weeks, a schedule that began in Virginia with the Presidents Cup, took him south for Disney and the Tour Championship, then to Spain for the final US PGA Tour event and over to Bangkok for the Johnnie Walker Championship. After a week off, Woods hosted his own tournament in Arizona before going to Argentina for the World Cup.

Still, it’s worth paying attention to the words Woods chose and how he corrected himself.

Golf no longer is measured by the season, rather the year. Golf doesn’t end until it’s ready to start. The only time a tournament is not there, the last weekend of December and the first weekend of January.

When do these guys ever get a vacation? Whenever they want.

Camilo Villegas simply was expressing a popular sentiment on Twitter a few weeks ago when he wrote, “I still don’t get it, every sport has an off-season but I guess we don’t.”

He knows as well as anyone that the season is only as long as a player wants it to be. Villegas wants to be a global player, which is why he’ll be getting his passport stamped in Spain, China, New Zealand and Dubai over the next six weeks.

Out of retirment or hunting?

Steve Stricker? He once took off so much time in the autumn that when he arrived at the Tour Championship, Woods asked him why he came out of retirement. Stricker was probably deer hunting on Tuesday and might not finish until the end of November. Good for him, too.

Such is the benefit of being an “independent contractor.” Make your own schedule. Create your own financial opportunity. And considering the economic climate, be thankful you can continue to play tournaments wherever and whenever. There is still value in winning the FedEx Cup or the US PGA Tour money title (Woods won both), or the Race to Dubai in Europe or the Order of Merit in Asia, Japan, South Africa and Australia. That’s not likely to change.