Making it tougher to rock and roll

CON GRIWKOWSKY -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:23 AM ET

There they go again -- curlers invoking the name of Tiger Woods.

"It's like Tiger Woods out there and there's hail, a big wind and the traps haven't been raked. It's a skill, I suppose (to read the ice),'' said Kevin Martin at the men's northerns last week.

"Sure, there's inconsistencies from sheet to sheet. This ice is really quite true, but there could be a bit more movement.''

It's come up before. Early on in the 2001 Ottawa Brier, Wayne Middaugh used Tiger Woods' name in some forgotten comparison to how a player of his stature should be treated.

Needless to say, the poison pens of the assembled media had a field day with Middaugh's perceived arrogance of suggesting he was curling's Tiger.

From a marketing viewpoint, it makes sense for a fledgling venture like the Grand Slam to invoke Tiger's name.

CURLING'S MORE FASCINATING

They argue that as a spectator sport, curling is much more fascinating to watch than golf. Agreed. They argue golf at one time was a fringe sport that developed a huge following because of stars like Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. Yep.

They argue earnings potential of curlers can be greatly expanded by making four events in a long cashpiel season special -- just like the four majors in golf. Call those four special events the Grand Slam, just like in tennis. Congratulations.

Ensure ice surfaces are perfect so you can showcase amazing throwing talent. Now you got it. Any time you're in the playdowns, make it known you don't like being forced to toss bricks on, ugh, club ice. Promote your alternate universe instead. Curling as golf-on-ice makes sense to a point. But at some point it becomes downright delusional.

Even Tiger Woods cannot convince the PGA that the fairways should be wider and the grass cut shorter when he's playing their golf course. Oh, yeah, because we're the best players in the world, how 'bout draining that water hazard and levelling out the pond with dirt while we're here?

See that tricky green? Well, we're the guys putting on the show. We insist on perfect conditions. Take a grader and flatten 'em out. Learning how to read greens is so beneath us.

Better still, slope everything towards the hole in the middle of the green. People will be so impressed with the skill shown by one-putting every green. Ooooh. Aaaah. Aren't they the greatest?

Hey. While you're at it, sod over the sand traps. And cut down about 10,000 trees. It's just so not right to hit one. Ah, that's soooo perfect.

The reality of PGA golf is just the opposite. Narrower fairways, longer rough, championship courses selected for the difficulty of their hazards. Every hole is different. The tougher, the better.

GIVE YOUR HEAD A SHAKE

It's about time curling's complainers give their head a shake. Any Harvey Hacksmasher can look like curling's version of Tiger Woods on perfect ice.

So, if elite curlers really want to be adored for their skills, how about tricking up the ice a bit? The elites don't like the playdowns grind and the Grand Slam events are maximum seven games.

Just like golf? More like mini-golf. How about a windmill about two-thirds of the way down the ice? Fun if the timing's a bit off.

Banking a rock off two walls and hitting the button is sure to dazzle the spectators. A real sand trap? No fun for the icemakers but hey ... you gotta find a way to show off skills.

Yep, I think I like it. Gotta go. More real challenges to dream up for the self-proclaimed greatest.


Videos

Photos