Times are tough for Tiger

Tiger Woods reacts after missing his putt on the 12th hole during the final round of the WGC Bridgestone Invitational golf tournament at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio, August 8, 2010.  REUTERS/John Sommers II   (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT GOLF)

The face of Tiger Woods says it ass, as he misses his putt on the 12th hole during the final round of the WGC Bridgestone Invitational golf tournament at Firestone Country Club in Akron. The entire weekend was a disaster for Tiger, and Plain Dealer columnists Bud Shaw sums it up.

Golf shirts from the Tiger Woods Collection retail for $100 in the Firestone Country Club pro shop. Hats are $28.50. Neither will help you play golf like Tiger Woods.

For the first time in memory, that’s not a disclaimer as much as a selling point.

To match the game Woods brought to the South Course this week at the Bridgestone Invitational, you’d have to miss fairways, flub chips, quit on shots and putt as if you spent the morning hooked to a caffeine IV drip.

The only way this tournament could more accurately embody the tumult of 2010 for Woods after Saturday’s third-round 75 would be if he were riding in a cart and that cart careened off the course into a fire hydrant.

Woods’ 5 over round was his worst at Firestone since his previous worst — 48 hours earlier. His 11 over after 54 holes is the highest relative to par since he turned pro in 1996.

“I drove it terrible, hit my irons terrible, didn’t putt well, and it added up,” Woods said before heading directly for the driving range.

For Woods to fix everything that ails him in one driving range session he’d have to stumble across Butch Harmon, Hank Haney and a hot tub time machine there.

We’re seeing a new Tiger who actually has to deal with his personal life outside the course. Maybe he needs a trip to Vegas . . . . .

Golf clubs and country clubs having tough time in recession

As you probably expected, the recession is having an adverse impact on golf course memberships and country club memberships.

Recession-battered golf courses aren’t just coping with lighter crowds. Some are edging perilously close to bankruptcy. Courses from Florida to Arizona, where golfing was once a daily exercise, face major cutbacks or foreclosure.

Myrtle Beach, S.C., a once-booming 70-mile strip of beachfront property nicknamed “Golftown, USA,” has been hit especially hard: Where there were about 125 golf courses in 2006, there are now around 100.

“It’s just a shakeout of golf,” says Donald Wizeman, CEO of Myrtle Beach Golf Association, which produces a website for golfers traveling to Myrtle Beach. “The real estate market is so depressed here.”

Things are just as bleak in Arizona. Eight golf courses in the Phoenix area have gone through foreclosure or bankruptcy since commercial properties started facing serious financial problems in 2008, according to IonDataExpress.com, a real estate analysis firm. Many more are reducing their hours this summer, says Tom Stine, co-founder of market researcher Golf Datatech.

You should also expect to find incredible deals for golf travel and green fees on courses all around the country.

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