PGA Tour needs major changes — starting at the top

mulligan, 13 January 2009, Comments Off on PGA Tour needs major changes — starting at the top
Categories: Uncategorized

1. Tiger Woods – no show. 2. Phil Mickelson – no show. 3. Paddy Harrington – no show. 4. Sergio Garcia – no show.

So what happens when 4 of the biggest names on the PGA Tour don’t show up to the 1st PGA tournament of the year (and probably will never do so in the future given the early January date of the tournament)?

Well, you have a MAJOR problem, especially when one of those guys perenially absent is Tiger Woods. Mercedes reportedly is thinking about ending its sponsorship of the tournament because it just costs too much, especially when the A-list of players doesn’t show. Can you blame Mercedes? I wouldn’t ever sponsor a golf tournament if I knew Tiger Woods wouldn’t show.

Meanwhile, PGA Commissioner Tim Finchem seems to be in a complete state of denial. He said, “the way we like to believe you will get better is to constantly challenge what you are doing and ask the question, ‘Can you do it better? It doesn’t necessarily mean we will do anything particularly different.”

Not do anything different? Say what? Mr. Finchem, wake up. The overextended PGA season is not working. The high admission fees just to watch the PGA are not working. The $10 million escrow payouts to Tiger and Vijay for the poorly hatched FedEx Cup (a knockoff of the Nextel Cup in NASCAR) are not working. In these serious economic times, when most families are trying to make ends meet, the bloated excesses of the PGA Tour are jarring.

The only thing keeping the PGA Tour from a huge downturn itself is Tiger Woods. Yet Tiger doesn’t like the early golf schedule, and he doesn’t like the gimmicky FedEx Cup. For Tiger, it’s about the majors and the tournaments with history. The PGA could learn a lesson by following what Tiger likes. The PGA doesn’t need to be playing golf in January. Nor does it need a $10 million payout for the insignificant FedEx Cup. Concentrate on the storied tournaments, like the Memorial, Bay Hill, the Colonial. And use some of that $10 million to lower the admission fees so ordinary Americans can attend the events in these troubled economic times. If the Commissioner doesn’t understand the need for a major change, then the PGA should consider a change at the top.


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