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Wednesday
Feb152017

Euro Tour Chief Wants Thursday-Friday "Payoff"

Alan Shipnuck talks to European Tour Chief Keith Pelley and commissioner Elton is questioned about his eyeglasses and other fun stuff, but it's his comment on Thursday-Friday play that intrigued me.

The "payoff" quote:

"Because in the way that people live their lives, they want immediate gratification," he continued. "They want to be able to get immediate results. And they want to follow things that are meaningful, because there is such a saturation of content. Our Thursday-Fridays are not as meaningful as they need to be. Yes, they position you for the weekend, but there is no result. There is no payoff at the end of Thursday or Friday. So what I'm turning our attention to internally is what are we going to do in 2018 to address Thursday-Friday? Because we need more engagement. We need higher ratings. I think that is a worldwide challenge for every tour. You're the only person I've ever said that to."

Lucky Alan! His poor staff.

This is the nature of a golf tournament, unless the formats create more volatility. Can't wait to see what they come up with!

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Reader Comments (37)

I would like to see the concept of a Thursday-Friday "payoff". A small purse to 36 hole leader could be interesting, though really it may not help ratings as late Friday rounds may not always feature guys near the top of a board.

I find betting the group match-ups, where legal, make the Thurs-Fri rounds entertaining as hell. Especially with "featured pairings" on streaming coverage.

We need to teach House about that.
02.16.2017 | Unregistered CommenterMJ Gel
We cannot complain about the Tours and show disdain for every new idea that comes about. Do we need 48 events with the same format every year. He is willing to try things and my guess is they will find some fun formats that work and then the stuffed shirts will pay attention.
Speed golf, sudden death formats, tic tac toe formats all can be tried and they might be interesting.
02.16.2017 | Unregistered CommenterKG
Most viewers watch to see who WINS a tournament. Not to see how much money is made at the end... or along the way.

With that said - was at the PGA at Vahalla (Rory's win) a few years back and it was mind boggling all the cabling I saw for tv and the expansive media setup in general. Was thinking how does anyone break even on all this?
02.16.2017 | Unregistered CommenterJohn C
John,
Most people who currently watch golf tune in to see who wins in the current format. Why can we not have other formats?
02.16.2017 | Unregistered CommenterKG
Give him some credit, at least he is speaking about different ideas to generate discussion, if not change. You could say he is simply throwing shit at the wall to see what sticks, but my guess is that's what he was hired to do.
02.16.2017 | Unregistered CommenterBDF
I sort of get Thursdays, but a typical Friday results in half of the contestants being eliminated without winning any money at all. In theory that seems pretty compelling. But in reality, it is often not compelling at all, since most don't care very much about the vast majority of the guys that get eliminated, unless it is a big star - but even then, there is always the next event.
02.16.2017 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
Except in the 4 majors (no The Players is NOT a major) Thursday/Friday are ho-hum days. The TV is on but nobody is paying attention. Except Trump when he's not tweeting, grabbing or reading the NYT.
02.16.2017 | Unregistered CommenterBill
I don't know, I kind of think it's a good idea...or at least an idea with potential.

There is so little excitement for the first three rounds of any non-major it's really only out of boredom that I put it on. Even when they play a great golf course like Riviera, it's tough to watch on Thu/Fri.

If someone were getting paid for a great round or two and the camera's went out to see if a guy, that really needs the money, can close the deal on Friday afternoon, I'd tune in.
02.16.2017 | Unregistered CommenterJS
Matchplay is the only viable format that lends itself to interesting early rounds. Round robin groups allow multiple matches without elimination after one round. To enlarge the fields you would need shorter matches- 9 holes or even 6 at the front end. Any real changes need partners- just like the Fedex cup needed partners. It can be done but the reality is golf is a small sport in the world of sports and likely always will be.
02.16.2017 | Unregistered Commentermunihack
Typical of Keith - and worked with the man back in the day at Rogers and he is gold. Great visionary, love the way he is shaking things up. Euro Tour very lucky to have a man of his calibre at the helm.
02.16.2017 | Unregistered CommenterJGY
From my perspective, the problem with watching golf on TV is that there is no sense of urgency in the broadcast booth. Golf doesn't have to be so quiet and sedate. One tee shot, one wedge, three boring putts and then a shot of the whales and 7 minutes of commercials really sucks. I'd rather there be more of an emphasis on compelling rounds of the day.

For example, have the production team figure out who is playing the best on the course during the broadcast window and create some excitement about that player by showing every shot and really building some energy into covering that player. Or, spend more time on marquis pairings on Thurs. and Fri. I can't stand watching anonymous TOUR players putt out 3 footers. It's boring as hell. I want to see premier TOUR players hit drives and long irons and interesting pitch and chip shots.

The hushed tones and vanilla commentary put me to sleep. It's all about building that sense of urgency even if it doesn't really exist.
02.16.2017 | Unregistered CommenterChris from DE
Be careful of that link if you are at work - a loud autoplay video comes with it that you have to be quick to shut down.
02.16.2017 | Unregistered CommenterGreg B.
Another gimmick. Gimmicks are not a viable long term business strategy. Do I hear a clown's mouth? The clock is ticking on this fool.
02.16.2017 | Unregistered CommenterXFL
NASCAR races have three stages
02.16.2017 | Unregistered CommenterPG
Ha - awesome. This is what over saturation of a sport looks like when everyone's afraid to say the words 'over saturation'.
02.16.2017 | Unregistered Commenterdsl
Let's see how the Super 6 format in Perth works out this week......I guess for most events the 'cut' is the Thurs/Fri "payoff'.....maybe a little more variation of formats could be 'beta tested' in certain events to see if that injects some energy?....do the current match play events draw more interest during Thurs/Fri than a typical stroke play event? same question for the Stableford event?.....I would not be against trying a new format or two but it might be risky and might alienate the core base if you try to make tour events more like a evening game at Topgolf...??
02.16.2017 | Unregistered CommenterKeith - NYC
The main reason any sport is compelling is when you care who the winner is. If you are a big fan of Sergio or whoever, what he does, even on a Thurs or Friday, is compelling. If you don't really care who wins or is winning for that particular day, not very many sports are compelling to watch.
02.16.2017 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
The best thing for golf would be daily fantasy sports betting. Nobody will ever care about the cut-line drama on thursday and friday.
02.16.2017 | Unregistered CommenterDon
Don may be right on this one....even the ratings giant NFL has embraced Fantasy in a big way and heavily promotes this form of gambling to attract the young/new audience.....they get big financial returns from this market segment and the irony is that the participants could care less about a specific team or who wins the actual games or the traditional Las Vegas odds....in fact many in this group have limited interest and/or knowledge about the game of football itself but a lot of knowledge about player/team statistics....so they have found a way to grow their audience ('The RedZone generation') and promote their brand without making dramatic changes to the rules of format of game itself...its a parallel business with a nice revenue stream....golf could do something similar.....the PGA is very stat oriented and there are many clever gambling formats that could be configured and used to attract the 'non-golfer' who in the end is another set of eyeballs for sponsors/advertisers.
02.16.2017 | Unregistered CommenterKeith - NYC
Maybe daily low rounds and some sort of recognition ofmaking the cut in the last 9 holes of day 2, or? Top 10 or 20 payout? or?

Pelley is on the right track on GOLF, but the music/ fireworks, etc are for AFTER the round not DURING.

Good that he is trying, but as I said. money into the prize kitty will bring the big players- that money is there but being spent on appearance fees.
02.16.2017 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
There should be meaningful competition for anybody who isn't fully exempt on tour. 36 holes. Top __ guys get an exemption for the next week no matter how badly they tank on the weekend. A mini rabbit tour from the old days. That'd be compelling AND take some heat off them for the weekend so maybe they play a little less tight and play better.

The tour blathers on and on about how much money they give to charity. Some of these young non-exempt guys ARE charity! Give them a $50k pot for #1-3 ($25/15/10) for TH and F and 3 exemptions for the next week and you've got something!
02.16.2017 | Unregistered CommenterShivas
Match play is the answer. A solution from the time when television and money were not complicating things.

If administrators want interest heightened on a Friday afternoon they need to dump the 72 hole four round format, not attempt to tweak with this sort of nonsense.

What Elton is talking about is akin to handing out a smaller medal at the top of the back straight in a 400m foot race. The recipient may be totally irrelevant at the finish line.
02.16.2017 | Unregistered CommenterMatthewM
I think a bonus for " Low Round of the Day" would be a good thing ...for the players, not TV, and a maybe for the Fantasy bettors. ..
02.16.2017 | Unregistered CommenterSteven T.
I believe this is really about gambling. If you watch Sky Sports 4 for a couple hours, you see one of their chief advertisers is Betfair. Instituting a Friday "payoff" will cause Betfair to follow suit, and (they hope) keep the adhd crowd from switching the channel to darts or cricket.
02.16.2017 | Unregistered CommenterScott
NASCAR drivers get money for leading a lap. So what? As I've said previously, no one cares except their accountant and their wife. No one has ever run to turn on the TV because they want to see lap 18.
02.16.2017 | Unregistered Commenterrgw
There's no immediate "payoff" to hockey/baseball playoffs either. So what? I have a feeling this "issue" isn't getting addressed in the manner in which it should.
02.16.2017 | Unregistered CommenterMouthful
Lap prizes each day would give the players who played poorly on Thursday something to shoot for on Friday rather than just playing out the strolling. A little incentive not to withdraw after Thursday.
02.16.2017 | Unregistered CommenterSome1
@some1 -

I agree ... but that doesn't put arses in the seats. (TV ratings)
02.16.2017 | Unregistered CommenterMouthful
Suggestion for Thursday and Friday from how we played in Kuala Lumpur. Stroke play as normal but each person plays a money match against each of the others and they pay out themselves. We did this in KL with four players split into two 9 hole "matches" with all the trimmings. This idea would encourage creating handicaps for pros and must be more interesting than what happens now. Of course the stroke play rules prevail. (I hope the will be the same in the new rules)
Every pro sports league will tell you the same thing - if is about the STARS. Right now at LA, there are 150+ guys out there playing. Maybe 30 or so are names that even a semi interested golf fan can identify. Less than 10 that a non golf fan would. There are some great stories out there in the remaining guys, but getting people to watch them is a challenge. It is why TV in the US focuses so much on those guys - which ticks of most of the Euro type viewers, but it is the reality.
02.16.2017 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
Colin,
That's a cool format. I think more emphasis needs to be put on the individual group winners/losers.
It would be fun to have the cut be based on individual 3somes. Low player is out, even if they shoot 68-68.
Would definitely stop the nonsense of players leaving their balls on the green as a backstop for their opponents chips.
02.16.2017 | Unregistered CommenterDon
Brian,
Stars are important and golf does not have a Tiger Woods right now. But gambling is also important to put eyes on the sport. The NFL pre game shows used to have handicapping segments, remember Jimmy the Greek. They knew. Fantasy sports and leagues also drive viewership.
02.16.2017 | Unregistered CommenterKG
I know /i;m an exception, but I have no interest in gambling on sports or the fantasy stuff. The fantasy game might as well be monopoly or candy land ( caddie land?) as far as I'm concerned- heck, I'd rather read a book. As to the gambling aspect, other than an occasional bet, I have found betting on sports to be a WOT& M..
02.16.2017 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
I was just reading Geof's story and the comments and realized that I don't have a clue what happened on the Tour today. Kind of describes the issue that Pelley is trying to address.
02.16.2017 | Unregistered Commentertiger's fault
@digsouth

I'm with you on that.
02.16.2017 | Unregistered CommenterTom T.
@Don... DraftKings in the US has daily golf fantasy betting.
02.16.2017 | Unregistered CommenterOWGR Fan
"I think a bonus for " Low Round of the Day" would be a good thing"

Now that could actually be a very interesting gimmick. Take an $8 million purse (does the Euro Tour have any $8 million purses?) and split it in half, $4 million distributed to the field on Sunday depending on order of finish, and $1 million per day for low round. THAT would absolutely change behaviour and spice things up!
02.17.2017 | Unregistered CommenterXFL

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