CENTER LINE

A funny thing happened on the way to Augusta. Augusta is home of The Masters the most famous golf tournament in the world. For years it has been know as "the good 'ol boys club." Usually, good ol' white boys. For one weekend out of the year each April, the top golfers from around the world would compete for a big check and a green jacket.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jul 25, 2010

A funny thing happened on the way to Augusta.

Augusta is home of The Masters the most famous golf tournament in the world. For years it has been know as "the good 'ol boys club." Usually, good ol' white boys. For one weekend out of the year each April, the top golfers from around the world would compete for a big check and a green jacket.

Hogan (two) and Arnie (four) and Jack (six) have all taken home their share of green jackets.

Then along came this young African American named Tiger Woods. Sure, there have been blacks before at big golf tournaments, but usually they worked in the kitchen, watered the grass or carried the clubs.

Not this time. Tiger took the golf world by storm and now he practically owns Augusta. And the more he won, the more publicity he got. Right now, Tiger is bigger than golf. If he comes to a tournament people fill the stands and millions of others watch it on television. When he doesn't show up, nobody cares.

Other golfers complained. He was getting too much attention. But what they didn't realize is the more attention Tiger got, the more they got, if even by accident. The more cameras, the more exposure.

Tiger has meant more money for everybody in the golfing business from the guys at Nike to the guys at Sycamore Hills and Eagle Creek.

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Years ago I interviewed former Cleveland Indian and Hall of Famer Bob Feller when he made an appearance at Tester Ford in Norwalk to sign autographs. What I found was a grumpy old man who had very little good to say about anybody. His biggest complaint was about the modern-day player making too much money compared to when he played.

But what he fails to realize is the more the players make today, the more their autographs and appearance fees are worth. Feller is paid handsomely for his appearances, and he can thank the popularity of today's game and players for that.

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What does all of this mean?

We ran a story last week about a proposal to allow Berry's Restaurant to serve alcohol in Bresson Park. The proposal could be discussed at tonight's council meeting.

Berry's already has an arrangement with the city to serve food in the public park. However, it would need special approval from council to serve alcohol because city ordinance prohibits alcohol in public parks.

That's where the debate begins. Should we allow a restaurant to serve alcohol in a city park? If we do that, then what happens when a group wants to serve alcohol at a family reunion at Veterans Memorial Lake Park?

Apples and oranges. The only thing on the table is one restaurant wanting to serve a beer or two or a glass of wine with dinner.

I don't expect the Hell's Angels to stop by, get drunk and tear the town apart.

Councilman Chris Mushett said last year he received complaints from other uptown businesses that such an arrangement would give Berry's an unfair advantage.

Do you see a pattern here? PGA players complained about Tiger Woods, but Tiger's success put more money in all of their pockets. Bob Feller doesn't like the modern-day players, but their success means more cash for him.

Unfair advantage? Maybe a dinner with a couple of beers will bring more people to Uptown Norwalk. Those people might spend money in one or two of the Uptown stores. Then everybody is a winner.

What's unfair about that?