Cliffs closing in on $60 million loan from residents. Cliffs officials have extended the subscription deadline from April 1 to April 16 for loans from its residents. The loans, in increments of $100,000, are designed to help The Cliffs finance amenities they promised, including the Tiger Woods designed golf course at the High Carolina community. According to one resident of The Cliffs, a note from the developers indicates they have received $56.5 million from 461 members. That cash on hand brings the developers close to the $60 million they requested. The note also indicated that other members’ checks are in the mail. Our correspondent, who owns a second home in one of The Cliffs Communities, is participating in the loan program and is cautiously optimistic. “Whether it ultimately turns out to be a ‘good deal’ for The Cliffs and its membership,” he wrote us, “time will tell.”
Tiger Woods’ return. Most golfers would rather play golf than watch it on TV, but this week will be different. Unless you have been in a coma since Thanksgiving, Tiger Woods returns to competitive golf this week, at The Masters, after a scandal-induced leave of absence. Golfers and Entertainment Tonight junkies alike will be watching in Super Bowl like numbers -– some to see if Woods returns to form quickly, some to listen for hecklers, maybe a few to see if Mrs. Woods (Elin) shows up (London bookmakers are quoting odds on that at 200 to 1). Augusta National Golf Club’s legendary reputation for control should be tested. What happens, for example, if one of Woods’ many mistresses shows up with a ticket and a video crew? Or if all the bird chirping in amongst the azaleas is interrupted by heckling? And will CBS risk its status with the green-jacketed masters of The Masters by covering anything peripheral to the actual golf shots? (Remember the exile of Gary McCord for his “bikini wax” comment about the slick Augusta National greens?) On many levels, this is must see TV.
Study says other golfers give up when Woods is in the field. An article in the Wall Street Journal today provides some scientific evidence that when Tiger Woods competes, other tour players figure they can’t win and, therefore, don’t try as hard as they might. “Most people assume that competing against an elite performer makes everyone else step up their game and perform better," says a macroeconomist from Northwestern who analyzed the performance data of every tour player from 1999 to 2006. "But the Tiger Woods data demonstrate that the opposite can also occur.” This adds a little extra intrigue to next weekend and a reason to watch more than just one player with interest. You can read the WSJ article here.
Man cannot live by golf alone. This is my favorite week of the year. It ends with The Masters, but starts with the NCAA basketball championship (GO Butler!). And baseball returns. I have been a fan since a few years before I picked up my first golf club (Brooklyn Dodger fan, if anyone cares). I have my fantasy team in order, and besides a few last-minute tweaks to the lineup, I think my guys can compete for the league’s top prize this year. That’s the beauty of baseball; every team is tied for first place on day one (sort of like the Masters, except my guys will keep trying all year, even when they play the scary Yankees). For the record, I see the Red Sox and Phillies in the World Series this year, with lots of celebration in Beantown at the end.