Tavistock Cup Complete...

...charity wins and now the golf world can finally focus on the Masters.

Steve Elling reports on the affair, which I'm really sorry I forgot to TiVo...

The T-Cup begins every year with a drumbeat of helicopter blades overhead, when the visiting team is flown from their club across town. In this case, it was the team from Isleworth, including Woods, Appleby and Charles Howell, being dropped off in the 18th fairway. Stationed a few yards away was a massive hospitality tent that will next be used at the Kentucky Derby, by the Queen of England, a Tavistock official said. Get the picture?

 “People make fun, but you could also argue that they are raising some pretty good money here for charity,” said Lake Nona’s Chris DiMarco.
Uh huh.
There were hole-in-one prizes ranging from Cadillacs to jewelry. As for the latter, a pair of statuesque female Cartier representatives were stationed in the sixth tee, wearing skimping evening attire, in case somebody knocked the ball in the hole. One fan dubbed them “Cardiac girls,” and it was just another head-turning example of what makes the matches a little different. OK, a lot different.

 

TiVo This!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PGA TOUR ROLLS OUT NEW SPOTS IN YEAR-LONG MARKETING
CAMPAIGN TO PROMOTE INAUGURAL FEDEXCUP SEASON

Tiger Woods To Make His PGA TOUR Ad Debut; Phil Mickelson and Other Stars in Marquee Roles

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL (March 23, 2007) – Starting this weekend, the PGA TOUR will roll out a new set of ads featuring some of the TOUR’s top players, including the most recent No. 1 golfers in the world, Tiger Woods (2006) and Vijay Singh (2005). The campaign, created by the PGA TOUR and its advertising agency, GSD&M of Austin, Tex., is designed to show in a lighthearted fashion the players’ competitiveness and determination to win the new FedExCup.

The six new 30-second spots will air during network and cable golf telecasts, and in other sports programming on network and cable. The ads are part of an unprecedented year-long campaign promoting the inaugural FedExCup competition, which culminates with the first-ever four-tournament PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup beginning in late August. The campaign will be supported by print, online and radio executions throughout the season.

Highlighting the campaign in his PGA TOUR ad debut are two spots featuring Woods in support of the FedExCup. In the first spot, “Voices,” Tiger points out there is one significant accomplishment he hasn't won…yet. In Woods' second spot, called "Sign," he seeks a sign from the portrait of legendary golfer Bobby Jones to let him know if he has a chance to become the first-ever FedExCup winner. Mickelson, who also is featured in another “Voices” spot, relays that some challenges in golf are more fun than others, like becoming the first season champion.

“This campaign focuses on promoting the most exciting and significant change in the TOUR’s history – truly a new era in golf,” said Ric Clarson, PGA TOUR senior vice president, Brand Marketing. “From Tiger to Phil to Vijay and the more than 20 players featured in the campaign, the passion and desire to win the FedExCup is clear and evident in these humorous spots.”

Are they humorous spots because the players are exuding a passion and desire to win the FedEx Cup?

“We are proud to work with the PGA TOUR during this exciting time in golf,” said Roy Spence, president and founder of GSD&M. “The new work builds on our existing relationship with the TOUR and is the most compelling and inspiring creative to date. It connects the fans with the competitive edge of the players and their desire to win the FedExCup.”

Oh Roy wins this quote-off, hands down.

A further look at the campaign:
FIRST KISS – features a mix of young PGA TOUR stars, including Adam Scott, courting the coveted new FedExCup trophy by reciting lines of poetry in a Shakespearean style.

MIRROR, MIRROR – features 2006 Rookie of the Year Trevor Immelman talking to himself in a locker room mirror pretending to be interviewed after winning the inaugural FedExCup, when he’s caught by veteran Vijay Singh.

BELLHOP – features Retief Goosen and J.J. Henry being duped into forking over a hefty tip by the bellhop after arriving at a hotel for a tournament and being told they’re “his pick” to win the inaugural FedExCup.

Wow, there's a future staple of YouTube.

WINNING PUTT – features Stuart Appleby practicing on an empty course, whispering to himself and dreaming that his next putt is to win the FedExCup.

DO NOT DISTURB – features Ben Curtis playing a trick on Zach Johnson in a hotel the night before a tournament in order to get an edge in the FedExCup points race.

What, Chad Campbell was doing stand up that week and couldn't do the spot? 

Letter From Dunbar

Golf World and Scotland on Sunday correspondent John Huggan shares this dispatch on the Richie Ramsay situation that precluded the reigning U.S. Amateur Champion from playing Bay Hill this week.

Dear Arnold (or can I call you ‘your majesty?’),

Greetings from sunny Scotland.

Over the course of your long career in professional golf, I’m sure you will agree that the land that gave the game to the world has been especially generous to you. Even on the many occasions when you couldn’t be bothered to come and play in the Open Championship – 13 times between your first and last appearance - we Scots did our bit to keep up the myth that the biggest event on the planet today owes its very existence to the fuss and bother caused by your first visit back in 1960. We even provided you with Tip Anderson, the best caddie you ever had. I hear you like our whisky too.

Anyway, less than a year ago one of our own ventured across the big water hazard to our left and your right and emulated your good self by winning the US Amateur Championship. That, as you can imagine, was a big deal back here in the land that gave golf to the world and amongst the people that perpetuate the aforementioned myth re yourself and the Open. We are very proud of Richie Ramsay and his achievement.

As a result of his victory our Richie has received many invitations to take part in events across the globe. One of them very kindly came from you and I know first hand that Richie was very much looking forward to competing in the “Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard” at Bay Hill.

Well, he was until he arrived in Florida to find that he was being denied entry to ‘your’ event because of a stupid and pointless PGA Tour rule that should apply only to professional golfers. Besides, would it have killed you or your office to have reminded Richie that officially “committing” – an apt word in this context – to the tournament was a necessary part of his schedule? Surely not.

When this nonsense came to light, I am perplexed by your apparent indifference to the plight of young Richie. Would it have killed you to take time away from those sycophants on the Golf Channel long enough to tell the PGA Tour pedants that at ‘your’ tournament amateurs who are no threat to anyone’s prize money and who are not taking up anyone’s precious spot in what is not even a full-field event will be allowed to tee it up even if they haven’t been told that they must officially confirm their presence? Surely not.

One last thing. You may not be aware that Richie’s month-long trip to America – during which he will take on Amateur champion Julian Guerrier for the Georgia Cup, compete in the Masters and then the Heritage tournament at Hilton Head – is being paid for by the Scottish Golf Union. The SGU, as you may not be aware, is largely funded by a levy taken from every golf club member in Scotland. In other words, me.

Arnie, can I have my money back please?

Yours in sport,
John Huggan

PS. I hear Richie is switching from Mastercard to Visa. So there.

Tiger's New PGA Tour Commercial

Doug Ferguson writes about Tiger's new PGA Tour ad, filmed during his Nissan Open week off.

While at home in Florida two weeks ago, Woods did three spots for the PGA Tour. One of them was a voiceover, and the other two were scripted roles promoting the FedExCup.

"Clearly, having Tiger do these spots is a very nice element of the campaign," tour spokesman Ty Votaw said. "It’s always good to have your No. 1 player participate in these things. He’s someone who resonates with our fans, and to see him in this kind of context is something the fans will enjoy."
Ty, no mention of texture?  And I had it marked on my PGA Tour MBASpeak bingo board! Oh well. 
Mark Steinberg at IMG said PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem approached him late last year and they found a spot in Woods’ schedule — coincidentally, it was the week of the Nissan Open, which Woods skipped for only the second time in his career.

Coincidentally, I think that's the week that he was undecided about playing up until the last minute!

Uh there's your confirmation: that lovely westside traffic really did leave a bad taste in his mouth. Can't say I blame Tiger.

This should also put to rest the silly stuff about him skipping Riviera to protect his streak.  

Skins Leftovers

Gary Van Sickle says Faldo and Azinger prevented the Skins from becoming unwatchable, meaning they might as well fold it up since the ABC duo won't be back.

And since the Skins is not a PGA Tour managed or owned event, The Golf Channel's Mercer Baggs is free to pick on it, and boy does he dismantle any notion that the event should be kept going.

Back in ’83, the total purse for the Skins Game was $360,000, which was huge money.

Player, Palmer and Nicklaus never earned that much in a single season in their TOUR careers. Nicklaus made $316,911 in 1972, but it took seven wins, including two major titles, to get to that number. And, prior to that inaugural Game, Watson’s best financial season was $530,808 in 1980, when he won six times.

Player was the first Skins Game winner, taking home $170,000 – or just $7,336 less than his richest TOUR campaign in 1978.

And...

There are several reasons why the Skins Game should die a merciful death. For one more: Ames was the big winner this year – now he has to be invited back in 2007.

For a lighter take, check out the Principal's Nose's take.

Ames Captures Skins; LG Asks For Rapture To Come Soon

Rumor has it that Skins Game sponsor LG is hoping Jesus makes his big return so they can get out of sponsoring next year's event, where, gulp, Stephen Ames is the defending champion at the new look Indian Wells Golf Resort!

Looking at the most recently updated Rapture Index, it doesn't appear that Ames's win was able to budge the number. 


Talk About Awkward...

...did you catch the Tour Championship interview of Tim Finchem?

This contractually obligated torture session pits ABC's ESPN on ABC's outgoing announcers with Finchem, who seems to have grown more reticent each year. He struggles to make eye contact and apparently is unable to show any genuine pleasure. (At least for his $10 million a year, the NBA's David Stern tries to crack a joke now and then, and this is a man who told SI's Jack McCallum in the Nov. 6 issue that he wishes he could ban his players from carrying guns...and he's not joking).

So here I was thinking that maybe, just maybe that lame duck ABC ESPN on ABC and loose cannons Faldo and Azinger, we'd actually get a spirited exchange.

After Finchem thanked ABC for "years and years of commitment to communicating the sport so well" and noting that the "production quality has always been superb," you could hear people turning channel Finchem noted that he was excited about the continued relationship with ESPN. Whatever that's about? (Probably the Tour paying ESPN to do "Sportscenter from the Players Championship" or some such thing.)

Azinger then selfishly asked about the schedule in 2008, with 7 of last 8 weeks before Ryder Cup involving the "playoffs."

"Well, we have a one-off," was Finchem's answer before shooting down Azinger's assertion that the situation was in any way messy.

Faldo then tried to make a joke about receiving the Commissioner's annual wine selection, an apparent holiday gift that Finchem naturally pounced on to plug of the tour's wine label (boy we're really reaching the 18-34 y.o.'s now!). Then Faldo asked about getting more WGC's played in International locations, which set Finchem up for some silly assertion that China could grow to 200 million golfers if it keeps on Japan's pace.

So here ABC ESPN on ABC has a chance to ask a tough question and they lob him two that have been asked repeatedly in press conferences this year.

Rivetting television. Actually, I got a big chuckle out of the tension and awkward nature of the whole thing, so it was good for something.
 

Ames WD, Tiger, Phil?

Thanks to reader Al for noticing that Stephen Ames is listed as WD on the Tour Championship leaderboard while Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are not listed as WD or DNS or CCL (Could Care Less).

I don't know how to do a screen grab, so just hit the link above. 

"If you qualify for an event like this and skip it, there should be some type of sanction."

John Hawkins has a little more from Tom Pernice and another interesting anonymous quote from the fun, jovial, all-aroiund good times Tour Championship:

“I think it’s a disgrace,” he replied. “It’s a slap in the face to [presenting sponsor] Coca-Cola and the tour. He would not make the money he makes if it wasn’t for the PGA Tour. At some point there is a credibility factor as to what’s inside you as a person. There is a responsibility and an obligation to the people who helped make you who you are.”

Well, let's not overstate Coca-Cola's role in Tiger's development, Tom.

To say that Pernice stands alone in objecting to Woods’ absence would not be accurate. Two other players have privately expressed disappointment that Tiger chose not to play in the season-finale, one of whom said, “They [tour officials] are so afraid of these guys [top-level players]. If you blow off the pro-am at a regular event, you’re not allowed to play in the tournament. If you qualify for an event like this and skip it, there should be some type of sanction. Maybe you should get a month [suspension] or something.”

 

"Tim works for us."

 Jerry Potter has the highlights from Tom Pernice's post 1st round rant which (I believe) first aired on The Golf Channel.

His anger was directed at PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem, who on Wednesday said there would be no alterations in the format for the FedEx Cup, the season-long playoff system that begins next year.

"Tim has no right to say that," said Pernice, a former member of the Tour's Policy Board. "It's not Tim's decision to make. Tim works for us (the players)."

Right Tom, right.
"If you're going to make that an elite competition, you have to cut the field," said Pernice, who believes the no-cut fields just protect lower-ranked players, who should be eliminated to make it a true playoff.

That was the Tour's original idea, put [but] the plan presented in June was for 144-player fields.

Henry Hughes, chief operating officer of the Tour, said options were presented to the players and the Player Advisory Council last week, but there was no support among them for reducing the size of the fields.

Joe Durant, one of four player directors on the board, said he would vote for the current system when the board meets in two weeks. He said he's following the wishes of the 15-member Player Advisory Council.

"It's not going to be perfect in the first year," he said of the system. "We can change it if we need to."

Durant said players would be eliminated from the 30-man field in the three tournaments because poor performance would make it impossible for them to make the field.

What does that last sentence mean?

 
Anyway, on The Golf Channel interview (where I think Potter and others picked up these remarks), I also got this from Pernice, with an assist from TiVo:

Pernice: I don't think it's Tim Finchem's decision. There's a board meeting coming up in a week or two. I think it's up to the board of directors and our four player directors who I think are the ones that should be making the decisions and comments like that. I think Tim needs to realize he works for us the players, he doesn't work for himself. I think our board, as a former board member, I think our board needs to start dictating more and quit getting run over by our staff and Tim. I respect what Tim and these guys are trying to do, but none of them are golfers, and I think it's in our best interests to step up and do the right thing.

After his comments, TGC's Steve Sands asked Davis Love, "who has the final say, the players or the Tour?" Love's reply:

...the players always have the final say. we can, in anything that affects competition, any of the player directors can stop something from happening. If we decided as four player directors that we want Fed Ex Cup points to follow a certain way, that's the way they're going to fall. Then we have to go deal with the players after that.

 

Fiscally and Mentally Sharp

Steve Elling on Tiger and Phil not playing in Atlanta:
Tour players are required to compete in a minimum of 15 events per season, with few restrictions. Woods took two months off in the summer when his father's health was failing and played a career-low 15 times this year, while Mickelson played in 19 events. He hasn't played since August.

Woods played seven times in nine weeks, but hasn't played in a month. Last Friday, he wrote on his Web site that he needed more time to "recharge my batteries." That said, he leaves this weekend to play for the second consecutive year at foreign tour events in China and Japan, where he will receive an estimated $6 million in appearance fees.

The PGA Tour prohibits appearance fees, but its players can accept them overseas.

Woods and Mickelson are not alone in their part-timer philosophy, necessarily. Heading into play this week, five of the top 10 players in earnings had entered fewer than 20 of the 47 official events.

"We are all independent contractors," Oberholser said, smirking and repeating a common player theme. "That's the most politically correct way I can put it."

If Woods at the moment is too tired to play after a four-week break, what does next year portend? The top guns will be expected to play six times in a seven-week stretch as the FedEx Cup series race heats up to its fender-bending finale, a stretch that also includes a World Golf Championship event and the PGA Championship, the season's final major. Woods and Mickelson previously have indicated that they plan to play for as long as they feel sharp, mentally and physically.

Maybe "fiscally" is more apt.

"I mean, I think that if -- if the reaction were flat, it's not a negative. I mean, I don't think there's a hurtful thing."

...That's the Commissioner talking about the FedEx Cup, which was the focus of his "State of the PGA Tour" gathering with the media.

Commissioner, take it away...

First of all, we had a great season during the course of the year. This concludes the official money portion of the season. Certainly Tiger had another great individual performance and has a string going.

Has a string going? Yeah, and this week he looks to, oh wait...well, the string gets going in January at the Mercedes...maybe.

After reviewing the PGA and Nationwide Tours, he had this to say about the Valiant Competitor's Tour:

The Champions Tour also had a good year. We had a great finish between Jay Haas and Loren Roberts for the Schwab Cup. Charity dollars will exceed $10 million for the third straight year, and we had new winners and veteran members performing well.

I think the important thing about the Champions Tour is that the transition that began in 2000 when Watson, Wadkins, and Kite came over is now almost complete.

Yes from popular tour to moribund.

We said, I think in '01 or '02, that by 2007 you would see just a fundamental redo of the leaderboards on the Champions Tour, and that's certainly come to pass when you consider Jay Haas and Curtis Strange and Larry Nelson, Chip Beck, the players that have come out in the last five or years six.

Curtis Strange? He's been on leaderboard?

Talking television...

We now are at over 200 countries. Our television passes 450 million homes outside of the United States. The focus of interest in Asia and South America to go along with the historical focus in Australia, South Africa, Japan. And Europe is astounding, really, in terms of the interest level in PGA TOUR golf.

Astounding? Uh, European correspondents, could you please track down some numbers so that we can understand what constitutes astounding interest level?

Okay here goes with the FedEx Cup stuff...you've been warned.

Let me start first with the season-long competition, the FedEx Cup. This is a major shift for the PGA TOUR. It is designed to really do three things: One, increase the importance of every week on the PGA TOUR, and as a consequence we think improve the quality of fields on average as we go through the season;

Now, if 144 guys make it, why will guys play more during the year?

secondly, create our version of the playoffs. Like most other sports, playoffs are the most dynamic portion of the season, and we want to take advantage of the opportunity to create some playoffs that we think will drive fan interest, television interest, and carry our audience somewhat further into the year.

Yes, great, but in those other playoffs, they play, and people who lose, go off the eligible list. As far as I can tell, no one is eliminated in the PGA Tour playoffs until the Tour Championship field is set. I'm quibbling again, I know, I know.

Now get the ma$$age oil out...

We want to thank FedEx. I think it was a year ago today that we announced our partnership with FedEx. We said at that time that not only are they a global brand, but they are incredibly skilled marketers. All the work that's gone on since that announcement confirms, certainly in my mind, that we picked the right partner. We have some people who are dedicated to making this a very special thing in golf as we enter what we now call the New Era.

Who's we? Why isn't that NEW ERA?

Now, about the clubhouse at the, gulp, "Players Stadium" course of Ponte Vedra...

We tore down the old clubhouse and rebuilt a new clubhouse. It's on kind of a different schedule. It's on schedule, that's the good news. The bad news is, as I've said over and over, that the schedule has an opening about two hours before the first tee time of The PLAYERS. It's a little tight to the tournament, but we think we'll get it done. It's just spectacular, and it's going to be a great addition to the quality and texture of The PLAYERS.

There's that texture stuff again. Notice THE PLAYERS is now The PLAYERS. Subtle branding touch.

Oh and on the subject of spectacular, wait until you see the locker room where the commissioner has his own shower protected by eye recognition security so only he can use it. Just kidding.

The third thing I'll mention is television. We had NBC officials here today, and we're going into a new environment. Again, another change for us with a two-network partnership as opposed to three, and a single-platform carrier for all of our early rounds with the Golf Channel. CBS and NBC, we think, are ideal partners for this arrangement.

There were 5 platform mentions in all, a new record I believe.

It's a very different direction for us. I might just pause here.

Oh, time for ten seconds of silence on behalf of our lost platform partners at ABC who we liked even though they introduced humor to their telecasts over the last couple of years...

This is the last official money event that we're doing with ABC, ESPN, and comment that they've been a great partner for us for a good number of years. We are indebted to them for the energy they put into this partnership.

And for all of the millions they lost too, thanks.

I would also point out, however, that they're still our partner. We have an ongoing relationship with ESPN. The world has changed.

When did ESPN buy the world? 

There are a lot of different distribution vehicles for media and telecasting messages, and we are partnering with ESPN and utilizing some of those avenues, but our tournament coverage will be with CBS and NBC, and totally from a cable standpoint on The Golf Channel. While we thank ABC and ESPN, we look forward to this new environment.

Partnering with ESPN? Anyone know what he's talking about?

I'm sure the scribblers will ask...eh no, they asked about the FedEx Cup and little else...

Q. Is it fair to say this is the biggest change in Tour history? Maybe, I guess, the all-exempt Tour, but I don't know that most people knew what that meant. Is there an element of risk with this at all? Do you think that you will be judged by how this thing comes off? I guess that's three questions.

COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: I don't think it's unfair to suggest that it's the biggest change certainly in the modern era from a competitive structure standpoint. If it doesn't come off -- we've talked about that. I don't see any downside. I mean, I think that if -- if the reaction were flat, it's not a negative. I mean, I don't think there's a hurtful thing. But as I say, we feel very strongly that there are going to be a lot of positives.

If the reaction were flat, it's not a negative. Well, unless you are FedEx and your brand is tied to something perceived as flat, confusing and a get-rich scheme for a few already rich players.

Q. You said just in the first question that it would create more of a connection with fans and it would add more value to the sponsors. Do you see that the connection with fans of the PGA TOUR is waning? And do you also see that the value for the sponsors is waning if this is why you created that?

COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: I don't see it waning. Three years ago at our 20/20 conference we had a company called DYG come in, and actually they came in again this week to make a presentation. But they did a presentation on society today and time constraints.

Without boring you with all the details,

You could never bore us...

the sad fundamental bottom line is that getting people in today's world to do anything, watch something on television, certainly get up, get in a car, go to a tournament, is more challenging than it was 30 or 40 years ago just because there are so many options.

They even pointed out that in today's world, psychiatrists -- you used to go and spend an hour on the couch. Now you do it for 15 minutes and pay for 15 minutes.

Of course, the Commissioner knows nothing about that psychiatrist stuff. It's just what the DYG people tell him about shrinks. 

That's just the way the world is. When USA Today came along, it was all about snippets of news 25 years ago, and that's the recognition.

Oh okay.

So you're fighting for fans' time, interest, and attention. All the sports are doing that and all entertainment vehicles are doing that, and we have to -- if we're going to stay even, we have to work harder, and hopefully this initiative is going to help us move up. That's what we're hoping to do.

Tiger, close your eyes, this is where you get criticized lightly scolded.

Q. You've mentioned players like to go head to head against the best players -- and talked about a lot of other things -- but this week the big story so far is that neither Tiger nor Phil chose to play here for various reasons. We wonder what you think of that? Can your new system keep that from happening again?

COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: Well, I'm against it (laughter). I'm disappointed, candidly. There's no other way to characterize it. I'm disappointed.

Phil was not a surprise to me.

He's a shlub and I've accepted him as nothing less.

Now that I know the details of Tiger's thing from last week,

...whoa, what? His thing last week? What's this in reference to? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

I understand how he came to his conclusion. It doesn't make me less disappointed, but I understand how he got there. And I recognize that there were -- I recognize, A, there were some unique circumstances this year that changed his schedule dramatically, and I recognize that he's had a good, solid run of commitment to this tournament.

Back to the TV platforms...we finally get an answer why they are on The Golf Channel for 15 years!

The other piece is getting the attention of the viewers. Now, the magic there we think is the consistency of the platform on Thursday and Friday all year long, and the fan base -- right now over the years you had to look for us -- where are you on Thursday? Where are you on Friday?

My father watches The Golf Channel about 60 hours a week.
He's 87.

So that's who is watching the Big Break! 

When he can't find something on The Golf Channel, he needs help. We're on The Golf Channel every Thursday and Friday, every Thursday and Friday night replay. That's a great platform. Once that kicks in with our fan base, it's a marvelously strong lead-in to our weekend program.

We will see how marvelously soon, won't we? 

Different Takes On Star Absences

From Jeff Rude's Golfweek.com column defending Tiger...

The opinionated Arron Oberholser, a TC newcomer, joined some press pundits in impaling America's two big shots for their absence. "I think the biggest players have a responsibility to the Tour to play in these," said perhaps the only young Republican from San Francisco. "Tiger might not want to hear that and Phil might not want to hear that, but they don't write my paycheck, so I don't care. I think it's about having a responsibility to your place in the game."

And from Geoff Ogilvy...

"The Tour is so good because of people like Tiger and Phil, so you can't say that Tiger and Phil are hurting the Tour by not (playing here)," the Australian said. "Where would the Tour be without Tiger and Phil? We'd be playing for $2.5 million a week, we'd have 20 tournaments, not one would be watching it on TV. We'd be back where we were 15 years ago.

Live at 3 EST...

Is there any other time zone? Of course not. Anyhow, Commissioner Tim Finchem's "state of the PGA Tour" news conference will be webcast live at 3 today.

I, unfortunately fell asleep just thinking about it, so I'll be reading the transcript later.

Early prediction on big, fancy, law/MBA degree words used by the Commish: 3 platforms, 1 contextualize, 2 brands and what the hell, I'm going with 1 coterminous

Oh and scribblers lucky enough to attend in person, don't forget to consider asking these questions

The Heritage Campaign Has Arrived

Somehow, I don't see the kids posting these on YouTube and watching them over and over again...

PGA TOUR DEBUTS “HERITAGE” CAMPAIGN TO PROMOTE INAUGURAL FEDEXCUP SEASON DURING THE TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP PRESENTED BY COCA-COLA, NOV. 2-5

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL – This week the PGA TOUR will unveil the first two television spots in a year-long campaign to promote the inaugural FedExCup competition, which launches in January and concludes in September 2007. The campaign is the largest and most integrated in the TOUR’s history and will be supported by television, print, radio and
online promotion throughout the year.

Created by the PGA TOUR and its advertising agency, GSD&M of Austin, Texas, the television spots will roll out in three phases and can be seen during network and cable golf telecasts during the rest of 2006 and in additional sports programming, including professional football. Print ads, also breaking this week, will run in national consumer, sports and golf publications this fall.

The first phase, titled “Heritage,” celebrates golf's storied tradition, while looking ahead to the exciting major changes happening with the sport. “Heritage” comprises :30 and :60 versions of two spots called Evolution and Who Will Be First?

EVOLUTION – is a trip through time with golf’s all-time greats, as they progressed from the early years to modern day. The spot takes viewers through one golf hole with drives from legends like Ben Hogan and Walter Hagen, approach shots from the heroes of the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s and ’80s like Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino and Greg Norman, and putts by today’s biggest names including Ernie Els and Tiger Woods.
Do we get to see how they've moved the tees back 70 yards on the hole in question? Sorry...
WHO WILL BE FIRST? – takes a look at some of the famous “firsts” in golf and teases the fact that winning the FedExCup will be an important part of the sport’s history. The spot features footage of Bobby Jones, Jack Nicklaus and Phil Mickelson.
So glad Phil's in there. He's such a supporter of end-of-season tournament play.
“We're ushering in a new era in the history of the PGA TOUR with the inaugural FedExCup, so we're approaching our 2007 campaign in a completely different way,” said Ric Clarson, PGA TOUR SVP, Brand Marketing & Retail Licensing. “It's important that we spend time educating our fans about the season-long points competition and first-ever Playoffs, and how these major changes will lead to more drama, meaning and excitement for everyone.”

Uh huh. 

Money Can't Buy You A Tour Championship Field

Gary Van Sickle calls the Tiger/Phil WD's this week "incredibly embarrassing," says money doesn't mean anything to the big names anymore, and writes:
With the FedEx Cup playoffs on next year's schedule, players are looking at playing the year's last four events in a row -- the four FedEx Cup playoff events, culminating in the Tour Championship. The playoffs are preceded by the Bridgestone Invitational, a World Golf Championship event, the PGA Championship and the Greensboro tour stop. That means the top players will have to play six out of seven weeks. From the British Open on, they're looking at playing in seven of the final nine events and then, after a week off, teeing it up in the Presidents Cup or the Ryder Cup.

It was playing seven weeks out of nine this year that Woods used as his primary reason for skipping the Tour Championship. While he paid homage to next year's FedEx Cup in his withdrawal notice, you have to wonder if part-time warriors like Tiger and Phil will actually play seven out of nine next year, or any year. Because the money, as big as it is, doesn't matter. Not to them.