Harrington's star power in question

Padraig Harrington might be the last year's PGA Tour Player of the Year and the winner of three of the last six Majors, yet he's not even close to being regarded a crowd-puller by the organisers of this week's Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines.

The Dubliner showed obvious signs of rustiness in his first PGA Tour start of the season as he opened with rounds of 71 and 74 to make the cut on one-over par - 12 shots behind poster boy Camilo Villegas.

Yes, he committed to the event just a few weeks ago but the organisers have been accused of misleading the public by heavily featuring absentees Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia and Vijay Singh alongside home boy Phil Mickelson in its advertising.

That Harrington is not featured is probably no surprise given that San Diego is thousands of miles from the Irish enclaves of New York and New Jersey, where he is most popular.

But how can the organisers justify the use of images of Woods, Singh or Garcia, none of whom are playing this week? No wonder there were irate calls complaing of misleading advertising.

One out of four ain't bad seems to be the new motto for the Buick Invitational.According to a report by Steve Elling at CBS.com:

Upset over what he felt was clearly deceptive advertising, a golf fan in San Diego called his local newspaper to complain about a series of misleading print ads that have run to promote the Buick Invitational. He had every reason to rant and rave, but he took the high road -- unlike, say, the tournament's marketing department.

As the man left his voicemail message, he repeated aloud the text from the advertisement that had run repeatedly last week in theUnion-Tribune, the area's biggest paper. The promotional ad featured a photo of four players, including Tiger Woods, who hasn't played in nearly eight months and was considered a long shot to tee it up this week. Worse, two of the other stars pictured, Vijay Singh and Sergio Garcia, hadn't formally committed, either.

The caller explained that his 10-year-old grandson was convinced Woods was playing at Torrey Pines because he had seen the ceaseless stream of ads, which festoon every pro shop in the county. From the first day the man had begun teaching his grandson how to play golf, he had noted how the game's "honor and integrity" were paramount and made the game distinct, he said. The caller characterized the ad as "absolutely deceitful" and posed a poignant question that would give any parent pause:

"Am I supposed to tell him those qualities, honor and integrity, don't matter if you are in marketing?"

Nah, don't tell him that. Be sure to add that accuracy or accountability don't much matter, either.