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So, Does This Mean Tiger’s Net Worth Is Now $43,002,544?

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So just how did opening weekend go for the Tiger Woods Golf-Ball Wrecking, Fairway-Splitting, Flagstick-Chasing Birdie Revue and Traveling Economic Impact Report?

Well, we know he cashed a check for exactly $2,544 when he tied for 60th at the Greater Milwaukee Open. Woods had a hole in one on the last day and gave the ball to a fan. He also was on television so much, it seemed as though he had his own show.

All in all, it was hardly a bad start for the $43 million man, a 20-year-old who forgot his checkbook when he was asked to pay the $100 registration fee for his first pro tournament.

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Butch Harmon, Woods’ coach, offered to lend him the money so he could kid him about it, but Woods decided a lifetime’s worth of ribbing wasn’t worth it, so he retrieved the checkbook.

No one really has any reservations about Woods as a golfer. But now that the bank notes have settled, it’s probably not too surprising that a lot of the attention Woods has received is about money. Hughes Norton of IMG said that Woods’ actual deal with Nike may be worth as much as $60 million, not the $40 million that has been reported.

Add it up and that sure was a big Tiger tab Nike picked up for the week.

A three-page display ad in The Wall Street Journal that appeared the first day of the Milwaukee event cost more than $350,000.

Then there was the 30-second television spot that is believed to have cost Nike $15,000-$20,000 each time it was shown.If it was shown only 10 times, which seems awfully low, that’s a tab of $150,000-$200,000 for Nike.

Reaction to the ad probably is going to be mixed. In the spot, Woods said there are still courses in the U.S. that he is not allowed to play because of the color of his skin, which is borderline preposterous. Given his popularity, it’s extremely doubtful there is any course in this hemisphere that Woods wouldn’t be allowed to play just by picking up the phone.

Although the spot was entirely in character with Nike’s in-your-face, aggressive, confrontational approach to marketing, it seemed entirely out of character for Woods. After all, he has gone out of his way to downplay the issue. And then to show up at his first professional tournament with the message that golf is racist seemed like an odd housewarming gift.

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Woods also raised a few eyebrows when he announced he was moving to Florida because he no longer could stand the smog and traffic in Southern California and oh, yeah, because there’s no state income tax in Florida. Here’s a 20-year-old who just made deals worth at least $43 million and he’s moving out of state to avoid taxes?

For what Woods is paying his management team, he should be getting better advice.

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With its ratings generally rolling in the same direction as a downhill putt for the last 10 years, it wasn’t exactly a shock that Woods got an invitation to play in the $540,000 Skins Game Nov. 30-Dec. 1 at Rancho La Quinta -- especially since IMG has a hand in the proceedings.

With Woods, John Daly, Fred Couples and Tom Watson as a foursome, it may be the most compelling of the Skins fields.

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The top moment in golf is ... what?

A blue-ribbon panel of golf experts will decide just that from a list of 25 in the “MasterCard’s Best of the Best in Golf,” but Tom Watson already has made his choice: Bobby Jones winning the Grand Slam in 1930.

“That’s got to be it right there,” said Watson, who is on the list twice himself with his 1977 British Open victory at Turnberry and his 1982 U.S. Open triumph at Pebble Beach.

Other top moments include Gene Sarazen’s double eagle in the 1935 Masters, Ben Hogan’s victory in the 1950 U.S. Open at Merion, Arnold Palmer’s victory in the 1960 U.S. Open at Cherry Hills, Jack Nicklaus’ Masters victory in 1986 and Ben Crenshaw’s victory at Augusta in 1995.

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