The longer the "World" Golf Championships are anchored in America, the more they look like any other tournament. As more PGA Tour events keep raising their standards, the more they rival WGC events that were meant to be special.How could he say that about The Gallery or Mount Juliet Conrad or Valderama or The Grove or Bellerive or Capital City Club?
"I don't see them moving forward," Adam Scott said, an opinion shared by many of his peers. "It's not different for the money.
"They're not playing them on great golf courses. It's just another event. They've lost some of the lustre they once had."
"It would be great if, like their name, they actually were held around the world," Lee Westwood said. "It's a disgrace.Doug's being charitable here...
"You might as well call them the World Golf Championships of America. They're just like any regular U.S. tour event. It's a good way for getting players to come to the states more regularly. But they're not World Golf Championships."
The WGCs lost their momentum the first time all three were held in the United States, in 2003, particularly an atrocious site north of Atlanta that delivered all the excitement of an NFL preseason game. A rotation that once featured Spain, Ireland and Australia now has settled into Arizona, Miami and Ohio.
There is a practical side to this. The corporate sponsor footing the bill gets more value from the U.S. market. TV money comes from America, and ratings shrink when a tournament is held five times zone away, if not more.
"While it's called an international golf series, it probably hasn't represented that in terms of venues," said Gary Beckner, a senior marketing director for Accenture. "But for the most part, the players have been truly international."
Accenture suffered when Match Play went to Australia in 2001. It was held a week after the Christmas holidays, and some two dozen players didn't bother going.
"The contiguous U.S. works well for us," Beckner said.
Finchem will argue that the "world" component of this series comes from the players in the field and television beaming their birdies and bogeys into homes of golf fans around the globe.
"I'm sure they're thrilled in China," Westwood said.