don't these guys have something better to do!
EXCUSE THE INTERJECTION WHEN SUN COLUMNISTS COLLIDE
THIS WEEK'S TOPIC:
DO FANS DESERVE A REFUND WHEN HEADLINERS WITHDRAW FROM TOURNAMENTS ON SHORT NOTICE?
# Tennis star Andy Roddick's decision to withdraw from this week's Tennis Channel Open disappointed many fans who had purchased tickets thinking he would play.
RON KANTOWSKI'S TAKE: In a perfect world, or at least one presided over by Judge Judy, the answer almost certainly would be "yes." But Andy Roddick is not the first player to skip out on a commitment by citing a vague reason such as "fatigue." While some injuries can't be avoided, saying one is "fatigued" has become the politically correct way of saying "one doesn't feel like playing." Roddick may as well have said the dog ate his homework.
JEFF HANEY'S TAKE: I'm overcome by fatigue from hearing about so many athletes pulling stunts like this. But I think we should allow the free market to work its magic. There's bound to be a backlash from fans against Roddick - and, in the course of time, from the ticket-buying public against any sporting event whose officials implicitly or explicitly condone such behavior.
RK: Yes, the ATP tour has some kind of point system that in theory is supposed to cut down on players pulling out of tournaments. But I've heard from tennis fans who claim top players have been known to withdraw from a tournament just so they can go shopping with their supermodel girlfriends.
JH: You certainly can't criticize a player who is truly hurt, or who legitimately needs some time off. But those mall-rat types are starting to draw more fire. Last week, Mayor Oscar Goodman ripped into Roddick for bowing out. Late last year, the directors of the Shanghai Masters Cup wanted to impose a substantial penalty for late withdrawals by stars such as Andre Agassi, Marat Safin, Lleyton Hewitt, Rafael Nadal ... and (drumroll) Andy Roddick. Sense a pattern?
RK: Yeah ... lots of guys with backward ball caps headed for the food court.
JH: Let's give credit where it's due. At least Roddick offered a reason for his pullout, lame as it was. When golf star Padraig Harrington withdrew at the last minute from last year's Hong Kong Open, he really blindsided everyone. "He just informed the organizers that he was not coming," a tournament official was quoted at the time. Gives new meaning to the phrase "no excuses."
RK: Maybe the golf and tennis tours should just make the players bring a note from their doctors, like you had to do in kindergarten when you got the sniffles.
JH: Meanwhile, ticket-buying fans are stuck with an old catchphrase: "Ya pays yer money and ya takes yer chances."