Teed Off (05-08-2012)
with Robert Bicknell
All things considered, Dalat does have the best weather in Vietnam, provided you're a duck.
Everyone warned me that Dalat gets really wet during August, but having lived in various parts of Vietnam for the last 20 years, I figured, "how bad could it be?"
I mean, think about HCMC during rainy season. You can practically set your watch by the timing of the daily torrential downpours. During that time, it seems like Niagara Falls is outside your window, but it's usually over in 30 – 45 minutes and then the sun comes out and dries everything up nicely.
Hanoi, on the other hand, can have days where it's rather gloomy with drizzle all day, but that is the exception rather than the rule. Yes, they have the occasional daily downpours, but nothing like HCMC receives.
So, again, I figure that Dalat is the food and flower capital of the country, so the weather has to be pretty good most of the time, right?
Nope, not during late July and August it's not.
While Hanoi probably has the most extreme temperatures from bone chilling winter cold to blistering, lie under a tree and wait to die summer heat, Dalat seems to have the temps of Hanoi and the rain of HCMC…all in one day.
When preparing to play golf, I keep a rain jacket in my golf bag, and also a sweater. Chances are I will start with the sweater on, then periodically take it off and put it back on 10 – 15 times per round because every time the sun goes behind a cloud, the temperatures drop by five to ten degrees.
The rain jacket will probably make an appearance before the end of the day and sometimes, like the sweater, many times during the round.
You simply cannot prepare properly for a round of golf here without being a magician.
Don't get me wrong, all the other months of the year are simply glorious, so I guess nothing is perfect.
I read where Tiger Woods is dying to reclaim the number one ranking again and it begs the question if it is a good thing or bad thing for golf.
On one hand, Tiger isn't the man he used to be and this leaves a lot of opportunities for other players to cash in on potentially huge paydays. When Tiger was a dominant force, everyone seemed to be playing for the runner-up spot and quite content with it.
Yet now, every tournament is up for grabs and we can watch young players show their stuff and make a name for themselves. Nobody is king of the hill anymore.
However, if you've noticed, nobody has been able to step up and claim a dominant position like Tiger did before. First people thought it would be Westwood, then McIlroy, etc., but nobody has been able to rise to the top and stay there. That is what made Tiger so unique.
On the other hand, a Tour without a dominant force leaves sponsors feeling a bit uneasy. When an event had Tiger in there, sponsors knew they would be getting great media coverage. That doesn't happen with McIlroy, Westwood or Bubba.
Ok, yes, an event with John Daly would draw good numbers, simply because people want to see monstrous drives, or to see if he blows up and walks off the course. He's an enigma, but a colourful one.
The media is also uneasy with a Tigerless event as they run out of things to say. For years, all they had to do was run a Tiger item and it was guaranteed to be loved by the editors and read by the golfing public. Without Tiger, they have to work for a living.
They hate that.
With Tiger dominating, sponsors are happier which results in bigger purses, which in turn, makes the players happier because second-place pays more as do all the descending slots as well.
Of course, the question is when or if Tiger will regain his winning form.
The more I see, the more I question if it will happen. I seriously doubt Tiger will ever regain such a dominant position, but he could get back to the point where he is a legitimate threat and that alone will boost ratings more than his constant winning. — VNS