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« Augusta National Foreclosure Letter Up For Auction | Main | 2012 Is Golf Channel's "Most-Watched Year Ever" »
Friday
Jan042013

Trouble In Paradise: Pro Golf In Hawaii Edition

It's hard to believe, I know. Apathy surrounds the season opener at Kapalua. The biggest names stay home and the new oversaturation era begins with the PGA Tour's constant loop of action already seemingly exhausting. And it hasn't even started yet!

GolfChannel.com's Jason Sobel says the Hyundai Tournament of Some Champions has been overshadowed by the missing "Magnificent Seven," a "who’s who list of special talents: Rory McIlroy; Luke Donald; Tiger Woods; Justin Rose; Sergio Garcia; Phil Mickelson; Ernie Els."

But just think, they didn't get to pre-tape NFL style introductions!

Meanwhile Ann Miller in the Honolulu Advertiser publishes several ominous quotes from Tim Finchem fishing buddy, Fred Funk favorite and all-things-Hawaii point man, Mark Rolfing. Since it's behind a paywall, SBD summarizes the key lines.

"I know the date is problematic. We've got guys skipping that never skipped before. ... The fact is, it should be one week later. Next year will be worse. New Year's Day is Wednesday of tournament week.” Miller noted the PGA Tour Sony Open, the “first full-field event of the year, is next week at Waialae Country Club.”

It's not great news for the Sony either.

Sony's commitment as title sponsor extends through ‘14, though Rolfing “worries weaker fields and the date's conflict with the International Consumer Electronics Show could mortally wound a tour stop that goes back nearly 50 years.” Meanwhile, this is the final year of Hyundai's title sponsorship for the TOC, and the tournament’s “holiday date and diluted fields make it tough on extension talks.” Rolfing said, "I've talked to a whole lot of players, and I think one week would make a huge difference."

Fifty-shmifty. Sorry Mark, we've got WGC's and the all-important fall events taking priority! Oh and Asia too.

It's not all bad news, as Hyundai's front man sounds positive talking to Jim McCabe, even though they just can't quite seem to put ink to a new contract.

“We are very bullish,” Shannon said. “We don’t have anything to announce this week, particularly because we are so focused in executing another great event. But we’ve had discussions with the PGA Tour, but we just need to get this tournament behind us and then have some more discussions with them.”

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Reader Comments (27)

Lousy weather, so so field and the Golf Channels relentless Hype O' Meter stuck on 11...pass.
01.4.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjjshaka
How can it be a so -so field if it is all event winners. The ability to sell what you have seems to have left the PGA and all the networks who televise this event. It doesn't help when they show Rory on vacation somewhere else.

This event should be mandatory, a validation, or whatever you want to call it....maybe you only get 50% of your winnings from the tournament(s) you won. These guys are cheating the public, the tour, the sponsors, themselves. It has been needing a fix for years, and here we are...still.

The Els/Woods playoff was as good as golf can get, and wha...? no shows half that paycheck goes to Shack posters vacation club. Sounds good to me. We'd be there, doing donuts in golf carts, eating poo lacka sune and what ever else, wave boarding ,water boarding, we'd be there!
01.4.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
I give Rolfing credit for his effort but he's being played by these guys. It's not going to matter when the dates are and honestly the best thing that can happen is if the sponsor does walk away. It may be the only way these guys will learn that without the sponsors they don't have the tournaments, and without the tournaments they don't get all the attention and thus they don't get as many endorsements and then can't afford to walk away from a guaranteed purse and probably first class free accomodations. Unfortuneately I think the Commissioner has become so wealthy also that he may be past the point of giving a sh**. Ask a few players on the LPGA Tour what happens when the sponsors walk. Really a shame that the players just don't get it.
01.4.2013 | Unregistered Commenterol Harv
the trouble is there is too much poo lacka sune and not enough BEEF...
01.4.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBobby D
The LPGA season doesn't get underway for more than a month, and the first LPGA event of the year on U.S. soil is more than two months away. The tour has not even publically posted its schedule yet. Yes, they know all about losing sponsors and events.
01.4.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDaveAndrews
I can't believe they're playing again. The never-ending golf season has to go.
01.4.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJRP
If you absolutely can't stand it then vote with your remote. Golf Channel is a one trick pony. What do you expect them to hype, billiards?
When enough people don't watch or buy events will drop. Until then.... LPGA woes are due to a lack of American stars that win tournaments. I'm sure the ratings in So. Korea are fine.
01.4.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAverage Golfer
Why not show up?
Small field.
Good money.

But the no-shows don't care about the money.
01.4.2013 | Unregistered CommenterStanley Thompson
It's too bad that this event can't succeed. It's a great idea to start off the year with a tournament showcasing all the winners from the previous year. Is the location a problem? Hold it in Florida perhaps? How about at the World Golf Hall of fame or some decent track like Faldo's Bella Collina or Orange County National in Orlando?
01.4.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew L
If they're going to insist on this never-ending season, the simplest solution is to move the Tournament of Champions to October and use it to launch the season as well as get the crowd started on their way to the Asian events.

First of all, the weather in Kapalua is way better in October than January - warmer and drier.

Second, move Kapalua and Waialae to that combo spot where the current plans are for the Fry's and Vegas events. Then you could move those two into the West Coast swing in January/February somewhere. You could start with the desert swing (Hope/Vegas/Phoenix) and then the California swing (Torrey/Pebble/CordeValle/Riviera)

Players could take a layover in Hawaii on the way to Malaysia and China and then the Euros can continue through the Dubai finish and others can opt for Australia before shutting down for a vacation.
01.4.2013 | Unregistered CommenterFWIW
There's far too much pro golf - everywhere. It's past saturation point. It never ends! Soon, all of the top guys will only play in a handful of events apart from WGCs and Majors.
01.4.2013 | Unregistered CommenterIvan Morris
The last time people really cared about this event, it had the initials MONY in front of it.
01.4.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHilltop
Let's see .... no-cut, which means free money.

In Hawaii.

Damn, those guys have it tought.
01.4.2013 | Unregistered CommenterGarry Smits
Ah, Digs.

You brought to the surface some great memories. Who can forget that Els-Woods battle? Tied for the lead, Els goes Eagle-Birdie on the 18th (regulation and play-off) and yet still loses. That was great theater.
01.4.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSari
Hey guys the winner gets 500 fedex points!
Should not be playing golf during the bowl season, Steve Stricker vs Johnny Football is a no brainer....
Based on the weather in Hawaii today and it appears that for this year the big 7 that are MIA made a wise choice.
01.4.2013 | Unregistered CommenterOWGR Fan
The PGATour is full of spoiled brats. And the year-long schedule will become mundane, ultimately leading to the demise of many lesser events. They just need to start the season at the Clambake, and end it after The Open Championship, and be done with it.
01.4.2013 | Unregistered Commentergreg c
Just throwing it out there again - the golf season starts in March and ends with whatever international spectacle you want to stick after the PGA Championship. The rest is grade A bullcrap.

Now, just imagine how great the events would be if that were the actual schedule and not just my personal viewing habits...The entire PGA Tour is really just a travelling exhibition that pays way too much money to its revolving cast of performers. Why not condense it and cut out the fluff?
01.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDsl
Is it a coincidence that they threw out the round when a guy using a belly putter was leading?
01.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterZippy
Dsl - because there's a big world out there that doesn't revolve around American TV companies. If you don't want to watch, you don't have to.
01.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterIan C
Golf, like everything else in the world, has experienced the diversity of population growth.

there used to be 2 or 3 events a year in a given community, be it a city, or a 3 county area. There used to be a dozen ''must see'' bands or performers....a few restaurants, 3 or 5 movies a year....just look at the thread on Phish and al the bands/guitar players mentioned, and that was lust the tip of the iceberg.

So as to pro golf... there is a sponsorship/local charity issue that is important, and to diss the current event because a few pros are not there... hey Fowler/Watson and any other player there would be welcome at any event and featured at that. There are 2 issues here.

1) the lack of respect the 7 mentioned are showing the hand that feeds them, and
2) the obvious number of events, overlapping and ever present, just like the number of concerts, restaurants, movies and on and on that will exist from this point forward- supply/demand.

To think less is going to happen is to not look at the face of the world we live in and say ''come on''. Dick Tracy's ''watch'' exists and the world holds a million other dreams of only a couple of decades ago.

We should embrace the world we live in- it won't ''go back''. It is exciting and as it was said--- hey , you don't have to watch.
01.5.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
@ digs, I really had trouble following your last post. Are you saying there are more movies and concerts now? There aren't. There are more theatres without question, but they all show the same movies (blame Jaws for this). And touring tends to be very tough unless you're a boomer aged act.

@ Ian C, I get what you're saying. I'd hate to be an international spectator trying to follow 'big time' golf given it's NA bias.
But dsl did specify 'PGA tour' meaning the NA-centric pro tour and I agree with him. It's already too homogeneous and there's about to be a bunch more with the wraparound schedule. It's too much of the same old, same old.
01.5.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdbh
dbh Yes it was hard to follow-- and I am saying that there are ore movies and concerts--- many regional acts have a steady following and perform statewide or in a several state area- and may not even be known in other parts of the country- I know thaty living in Austin,''The Live Music Capitol of the World'', gives me a jaded view, but you can go to any ''area'', let's say Chicago, or the Florida panhandle/Alabama/Georgia--and there are acts that tour constantly--just not nationally or internationally. Many Texas bands have an incredble following in Europe, and play tere all the time. And then you thrw in the Taylor Swifts, and the like, and the selection is impossible to participate in.

And go to MSB to see how many movies are produced- some are released in DVD immediatel;y, or are for TV. Again- 24/7 would not allow even a partial ability to see it all.

And so it is the same for golf--- there is not too much--there are simply more choices.

Have a great weekend.
01.5.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
why would a company sponsor this event when Woody and Phil always skip, along with others.....and with really small galleries too??
01.5.2013 | Unregistered Commenterchicago pt
Why would anyone sponsor this event this time of year? Three and four club wind, perfect for flying a kite....
01.6.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBlow Me
chicago pt, if the criteria you list defined sponsor involvement you could eliminate 20 or more events on Tour! Have you ever seen the crowds, or lack there of, at the event held on St. Simons Island, GA?

I mean the get tens of people to that thing!

Really don't even need ropes at that event, most Nationwide events are better attended.
01.6.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF

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