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Less Is More
I think all golf fans would agree by proclamation that the PGA Tour season is too long. So what is the Tour doing to address this problem? That's right. They're lengthening the season. Just what the public was clamoring for — an endless Tour! It's like hell, with wedges and hybrids.
Starting in 2013, the Fall Series events will count toward the 2014 FedExCup points standings, meaning that the 2014 golf season will run from early October 2013 until late September 2014, with the 2015 season presumably starting the week following the 2014 Tour Championship.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but that is insane.
While technically, this change adds no new events to the schedule, it's a futile attempt to add meaning and drama where none exist. It further saturates a sports marketplace that barely had room for golf to begin with.
You thought baseball season was long; wait until you enjoy 365 days of FedExCup drama. This thing will make the siege of Leningrad seem brief and to the point.
Golf needs contraction, not expansion. With that in mind, I propose the following schedule, one that would enhance the fan experience, boost ratings by winnowing the excess and keep the spotlight where it belongs: on the best events.
We'll start in March, when spring is approaching and people are actually thinking about golf. We'll end it on Labor Day Weekend, reaching a crescendo just in time to clear the stage for football.
Here it is: 20 meaningful tournaments, one manageable schedule.
Hyundai Tournament of Champions—We'll leave Hawaii on the schedule. Spectacular scenery, nice reward for the previous year's winners.
Northern Trust Open—Riviera's historic enough to keep. We'll dump Pebble Beach; the pro-am is just too gimmicky.
Accenture Match Play—Coincinding with March Madness, we keep the Tour's version of bracketology.
Bay Hill—It's Arnold. Enough said.
WGC-Cadillac—Like Riviera, Doral's worth keeping.
The Masters—No comment necessary.
Wells-Fargo—Quail Hollow has earned its stripes.
Byron Nelson—Only to keep Lord Byron's name alive for future generations of players and fans. We'd do the same for Colonial if it had Hogan's name on it.
The Players—We'll let the Tour keep its biggest tournament.
The Memorial—It's Jack; see Arnold above.
U.S. Open—It's a major. We'll put some space around it.
WGC-Bridgestone—The WGC events assemble the best fields. We move this one to June to clear August for the playoffs.
AT&T National—Celebrates the 4th in the nation's capital.
The British Open—Golf's oldest tournament would grow in stature with a shorter schedule.
Canadian Open—We'll throw America's Hat a bone.
PGA Championship—It's a major, so make it the kickoff to the playoffs.
Barclays, Deutsche Bank and BMW—The playoffs take us through the dog days.
The Tour Championship—Finish it on Labor Day, create some tradition, and clear the stage. Football's here.
- by Rob Doster