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Stachura: Challenger to Tiger Woods May Not Appear Any Time Soon

Aired August 29, 2000 - 1:27 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: I'm joined now by Mike Stachura, he is the associate editor of "Golf Digest" magazine. Mike Joins us from New York.

You heard Tiger say that the purpose of the exercise last night was about the growth of the game. What did you make of Monday night golf?

MIKE STACHURA, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, "GOLF DIGEST": Well, it's worked in the past, last year it was Tiger and David Duval. And they got great TV ratings. And let's face it, if they hadn't gotten great TV ratings last year, they wouldn't be doing it again this year. And I'm sure the ratings are going to be phenomenal again. It was a great show. Tiger sick or not sick was phenomenal, he made five birdies, no bogeys. And Sergio was just that bit better. And for one round I think what Sergio showed is that there's still hope for the best golfers in the world.

WATERS: With all due respect to Sergio, who was the winner by one hole, it's still all about Tiger, is it not?

STACHURA: It's going to be all about Tiger for a long, long time. I don't see a significant rival to challenge him for a number of years, maybe 20 years. But I think what Sergio showed is that there's going to be a field of rivals, and they're going to rotate and take shots at Tiger. And over time, you know, Tiger is going to fall on occasion.

WATERS: What do you make of the growth of the game that Tiger referred to? I heard Curtis Strange saying last night that everywhere he goes, everything he does, he's being asked about Tiger, and these folks are non-golfers.

STACHURA: I think that's true. I mean, you look at the numbers for TV audiences. I think it's something like 40 percent of the audience for TV golf are non-golfers. But I think Tiger's mission, and why he does this type of thing, why he had the schedule that he had, his mission, besides winning, is to make golf look more like America. That's his goal, and that's why he does these type of things. And I think he's moving well along the way toward that goal.

WATERS: And it's working, it is not? I heard the fellow out at Bighorn saying that they were getting a bigger gallery than they got for the Skins Game?

STACHURA: Yes, I mean, Tiger is going to bring them in. His TV ratings are phenomenal. He's getting TV ratings for minor events, not major championships, TV ratings that were unheard of five years ago. So I think he's getting the message out there and certainly raising the popularity of the game. And who knows, he may be the reason -- he may be the reason that his next challenger comes along because he got interested in golf because of Tiger Woods.

WATERS: What about the next challenger? what about the competition? if Tiger's not playing, there's not much interest?

STACHURA: I think that's a real problem. You know, Tiger is certainly not going to play more. I think he may play less as time goes on. And I think what has to happen is you have to develop a significant rival. Sergio's only 20 years old. He's been playing professional golf for two years. He's already ahead of where Tiger was at 20. So I think there's potential for Sergio to be a real rival. But Sergio's going to have to change his golf swing. And that's going to require a change in attitude. And, certainly, it's going to require a lot of work.

WATERS: Well, it'll be fascinating to watch, as I'm sure we'll agree. Mike Stachura with "Golf Digest," thanks so much for coming in.

STACHURA: Thank you, Lou.

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