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Jerry West understands Tiger Woods' Northern Trust Open absence

February 13, 2012 | 12:23 pm
Jerry West says he understands Tiger Woods' absence from Northern Trust Open

There's rarely a time that Jerry West feels fully relaxed.

He carried that mindset as a player, focusing more on his lost NBA Finals efforts against the Boston Celtics than his 1972 title. He remained that way as the Lakers' general manager, the anxiety overwhelming him so much that he rarely enjoyed the seven NBA titles the Lakers won under his watch. And he was no different last week, juggling his roles as an advisor to the Golden State Warriors' executive board and as the executive director of the Northern Trust Open.

So even though West described his three-year stint overseeing the tournament at the Riviera Country Club as "extremely gratifying," there's no question he hardly remains fully satisfied. Part of that may stem from Tiger Woods' absence from this week's event.

"He makes his own schedule," West said. "Certainly we've love to have him, but I would never be one to ever be critical of someone like him who has so many demands on his time. It'd be wonderful for him to play the event. The fans and family in Southern California where he grew up would be delighted if he would play. If it would happen, it would happen. But we don't anticipate that in this point in time."

Even without Woods, West described the participants in this year's tournament as "another great field" that includes 25 of the 40 top golfers from the recent Pebble Beach Pro-Am leaderboard. His hope that the tournament can raise between $5 million and $6 million for charity sounds ambitious compared with the $1.5 million it brought in in 2010 and the $1.6 million it raised last year.

For someone who describes himself as "addicted" to golf, this year's event should go a long way toward satisfying West's thirst for competition. But given The Logo's intense perfectionism, it seems likely he's going to keep looking for Woods to join the field in the future.

"I think he's very aware that we would like for him to play," West said of Woods. "I think being from Southern California, that would be a great impetus. But he has so many demands on his schedule, and I think he's trying to get his game back in order so he can win the things that matter most to him."

As of right now, that apparently doesn't involve the Northern Trust Open.


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-- Mark Medina

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Photo: Jerry West speaks during his National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame induction in November 2010. Credit: Ed Zurga / Associated Press