Desperate for Tiger’s Return


The PGA Tour doesn’t usually generate much attention at this time of year, but that was all about to change with the buzz building over the return of Tiger Woods. Slated to tee it up in the first event of the new PGA Tour season at the Safeway Open in Napa, California, Woods abruptly withdrew on the Monday of tournament week stating that his game was not yet ready to take on the best players in the world. The much anticipated return of the 40-year-old superstar is going to have to wait at least two more months. His next scheduled appearance is the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas the first week of December. If he can stay healthy, and get his game back, Woods will presumably resume a full schedule in 2017.

Tiger Woods, who burst on the scene 20 years ago with his “Hello, World” at the 1996 Greater Milwaukee Open, last played a PGA Tour event, the Wyndham Championship, in August 2015 where he finished tied for 10th, his best finish of the year on a creaky back. He underwent microdiscectomy back surgery soon after, followed by two additional procedures, and he’s been on the shelf since Wyndham. He missed all four majors in 2016, the first time that’s happened in his career and in interviews, he has often sounded bleak about his prospects of playing again at a high level. This is the fifth time since 2008 that he’s missed three months or more because of injuries, and even Woods has had to grudgingly acknowledge that his rushed returns in the past did him no favors. But unlike prior comebacks, Tiger says that he has been smart about his recovery this time around. The question now is whether he can get his game back to a standard that he can accept. That’s a tall order.

For the past six to eight months all we’ve really seen of Tiger is shots of him with his young children, at corporate outings, and at the Ryder Cup, where he served as a vice captain to Davis Love III, and to many observers the game isn’t anywhere near as interesting without the 14-time major champion in the field. Everyone from the PGA Tour to his fellow players, sponsors, and fans is hoping for the day he tees it up again. And in the few glimpses we’ve seen of Tiger over the past month, crushing drives at a junior clinic and in a full warm-up session on the range at his new course design Bluejack National, he seems healthy. But then those have just been baby steps. You don’t go from the range to the PGA Tour overnight.

Assuming that we’ll see him once again prowling the fairways of the PGA Tour, what can we expect of Tiger Woods after his return from major back surgery? With 79 wins on the PGA Tour, he has nothing to prove to anybody, but expect him to win if his back holds up. He is after all a competitor, not an oddity, and no one has done more for the game of golf or drawn more interest to the game in the past 20 years like Tiger Woods. And the sport has missed him desperately. Today’s Tour players would be the first to admit that purses are what they are today largely because of what Tiger has done over the past two decades.

While there are no guarantees on how well Tiger can play, whether he’ll win another major, or even win again, make no mistake, the cameras and the spotlight of the entire golf world will be on Tiger Woods once again when he finally puts his tee in the ground at a PGA Tour event. Let’s hope that’s sooner than later.

3 Ways to Celebrate Thanksgiving Weekend in Niagara Parks


Sweater weather has officially arrived in Southern Ontario and the leaves on the trees that line our 56km stretch along the Niagara River are sprinkled with hints of orange, yellow and red. Whether you’re coming home to Niagara to spend time with family and friends or looking to plan a weekend escape, here are 3 ways to celebrate the Thanksgiving long weekend in Niagara Parks:


1. Leave the cooking to us
Spend more time relaxing this weekend and visit one of our five Feast On certified restaurants along the Niagara Parkway. Feast On, a criteria-based program from the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance, recognizes businesses committed to showcasing Ontario’s unique taste of place. By dining with Niagara Parks Culinary, you help to support the many growers, producers and craftspeople that make up the province’s strong food and agricultural sectors.

On Sunday, October 9, enjoy brunch at the picturesque Queenston Heights Restaurant. Enjoy our seasonal menu while overlooking wine country and the winding Niagara River. Reservations are recommended. Call (905) 262-4274 to reserve your spot.

If you’re looking for a traditional turkey dinner with sides of Spy Apple Sage Stuffing, Yukon Mashed Potatoes, and Harvest Pumpkin Pie with Chantilly Cream, look to Elements on the Falls. Enjoy a prix-fixe Thanksgiving Dinner at the brink of Horseshoe Falls from October 8 to 10 and don’t miss the falls fireworks on Friday, Sunday and Monday evening at 10:00pm. Reservations recommended. Call (905) 354-3631 to reserve your table.



2. Discover some fall colour
A harvest-themed display featuring pumpkins, gourds and other fall décor is now in place at the Floral Showhouse alongside the annual Reiger Begonia Show. Wander through rows of coleus, ferns, and tropicals before heading outside to view our Life on Display exhibit.

After checking out the harvest displays at the Floral Showhouse, head north along the Niagara Parkway to visit White Water Walk and our 100-year-old Whirlpool Aero Car. Stroll along the wooden boardwalk at the edge of the Niagara River at White Water Walk then soar over the whirlpool and enjoy a panoramic view of the gorge aboard the Whirlpool Aero Car. Check out these vantage points before it’s too late – both of these attractions close for the season on November 6.

Plan your adventure and learn more about our passes here.




3. Reconnect with nature
Niagara Parks features 15km of hiking footpaths through six different nature areas, one 56-km paved Niagara River Recreation Trail, and also maintains a section of the Bruce Trail.

Explore the north end of the Niagara Parkway and hike the rugged trails that wind through the Niagara Glen. Located deep in the Niagara Gorge, stairways lead to 4km of rugged paths that wind through this pristine pocket of Carolinian Forest, past prehistoric geological formations, wild flora and fauna. The Niagara Glen overlooks the rapid teal-coloured waters of the Niagara River and the Niagara River Whirlpool.

Niagara Parks also offers superior cycling for all ages on our 53km Niagara River Recreation Trail. As part of larger trail systems that includes the Trans Canada Trail, the Waterfront Trail, the Greater Niagara Circle Route and the Greenbelt Route, the Niagara River Recreational Trail borders the winding Niagara River and is divided into four picturesque sections. Pack a picnic and stop at any of the look-out spots along the river for lunch.


Honouring Legends

Arnold Palmer - header

As the world mourns the passing of golf’s undisputed “King” on the eve of the 41st edition of golf’s biennial contest between the United States and Europe, one has to think that the Americans will have a thirteenth man in the locker room this week as they try to win their first Ryder Cup since 2008. Arnold Palmer loved this event and in six appearances as a player he won a total of 23 points, a record that stood for 24 years until it was broken by Nick Faldo in 1997. How US Captain Davis Love III harnesses the emotion surrounding Palmer’s death could well turn the tables on Darren Clarke’s European team.

For the man who almost singlehandedly redefined the country club game, the Ryder Cup was about something more than playing for money. To Palmer, it was something grander and more personal as it was for Spain’s Seve Ballesteros who was the inspiration behind Europe’s Ryder Cup resurgence. A mainstay of the European team for much of the 80s and 90s, Seve scored 22½ points in 37 matches and his partnership with fellow Spaniard José María Olazábal was the most successful in the history of the competition with 11 wins and two ties in 15 pairs matches. Just as Palmer brought the game to the masses, Ballesteros helped elevate public interest in the Ryder Cup.

If there was a turning point in the modern era of the matches, it was the 1989 event at The Belfry in England that ignited tensions between the teams and saw the beginnings of a feud between Ballesteros and American Paul Azinger. After holding the cup for more than two decades, the United States team lost both the 1985 and 1987 matches and in 1989 the pressure was on the US side. Early in their singles match, Ballesteros sought to change a scuffed ball for a new one under the Rules of Golf and when Azinger disputed whether the ball was unfit for play, Ballesteros reportedly said, “Is this the way you want to play today?” The matches ended in a tie, with the European side retaining the cup.

The tension between the teams and the feud between Ballesteros and Azinger escalated in 1991 at Kiawah Island dubbed “The War on the Shore”. On the first morning of the competition, Azinger and Chip Beck were paired against Ballesteros and José María Olazábal in a foursome match when Azinger accused Ballesteros of gamesmanship for clearing his throat during Beck’s shots. That intensity produced what may be regarded as one of the best pairs matches in history, with the Spaniards winning 2 & 1. The United States won that year and the Ryder Cup became anything but a friendly contest again.

In 2008, Seve was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour and died May 7, 2011, at the age 54. At the 2012 Ryder Cup, the first to be played after his death, the European team wore navy blue and white on the final day, the colours Seve traditionally wore on the last day of a tournament. On their uniforms they stitched the silhouette of the iconic Ballesteros’ “salute” from his win at the 1984 Open Championship.

Fast forward to Hazeltine this week and the swashbuckling image of golf’s first authentic hero and what US Captain Davis Love III does to honor “The King” could well have a profound impact on the American side and the on-going battle for golf’s greatest team prize.