Tour needs Tiger TV

TIM MCKAY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:15 PM ET

It's no secret that the PGA Tour is hoping Tiger Woods can rebound as it enters negotiations on its TV deals this season.

Ratings were down with Woods missing in action for much of last season and there is no one -- players included, grudgingly -- that doesn't agree the tour is healthier when Tiger is in the mix.

PGA Tour commission Tim Finchem even admitted yesterday at Torrey Pines -- where Woods tees up his season at the Farmers Insurance Open alongside Rocco Mediate, whom he battled at Torrey to win the U.S. Open in a playoff in 2008, and Anthony Kim --that we can expect to see pairings designed to be TV-friendly.

"It's funny how that pairing happened, huh? What a shocker," Mediate said during a news conference Tuesday, poking fun at the obviously made-for-TV grouping. "The computer had a glitch."

All joking aside, Finchem acknowledged that a winning Woods makes for winning TV ratings.

"Having him return to his competitive level that he enjoyed for 14, 15 years has a positive impact on the sport," Finchem said. "I think that positively affects everything we do, because he creates a lot of attention."

Woods, characteristically, played down his role in the health of the tour and his link to its TV ratings.

"I think the tour is very healthy," Woods said Wednesday. "We've got some fresh, young blood out here, making the tour fun to watch.

"Obviously I would like to play well, and hopefully that helps."

Mediate earlier had suggested Woods could win four times this season and Tiger drew laughs of his own when asked about it during his news conference, saying he's out to win every tournament and that, "I think the commissioner would like me to play more than four events"

RORY PULLS OUT OF TPC

Citing his dislike for the course and his desire to focus on the European Tour, Rory McIlroy says he won't play in the Tour Championship at TPC Sawgrass in May.

The 21-year-old star from Northern Ireland is joining world No. 1 Lee Westwood in skipping the unofficial fifth major.

"The reason I'm not playing TPC this year is because I've never though the golf course has set up that well for me," McIlroy wrote on Twitter. "I have no sort of vendetta against Tim Finchem or the PGA Tour."

McIlroy later mused: "Big dilemma ... play in the Masters or go watch Ulster (rugby union squad) in a Heineken Cup quarter final?? Tough decision!"

TWITTER TO CANADIAN OPEN

While there is a Twitter movement afoot to persuade Woods to play in to the Canadian Open, one shouldn't hold their breath.

The Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club is hoping to lure Woods, who hasn't played in the national open championship since 2001 at Royal Montreal, but it's doubtful he will succumb to the pressure of the popular social network.

There is one piece of good news for the folks at Shaughnessy via Twitter, however.

John Daly was asked by a "follower" if he would be at the July 21-24 event in Vancouver and replied with: "Yes, I put in a request to Bill Paul - Tourn. Director"

WATSON HAS WEIR'S BACK

In a week where the only positive for Canadian Mike Weir may have been that his elbow seemed to hold up at the Bob Hope Classic, he can take some solace in the fact that Bubba Watson went to bat for him in the media tent.

Weir, a past champion at the tournament, struggled and missed the cut, making no money towards the $527,000 US he must earn in his five-event medical exemption.

To add insult to injury, Weir was inadvertently slighted in the press room when a reporter asked Watson, "Did it bother you last year when ... the highest-ranked player was Mike Weir at No. 37 in the world?"

Watson turned the tables: "Mike Weir at 37 is better than y'all at whatever y'all would be ranked, you know. What are y'all ranked in the press, media world? Let's get that number out."

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