Jeff Rude and Rex Hoggard pen an exhaustive look at the likely new PGA Tour schedule, and all of Tim Finchem's brilliant "marketing platform" concepts borrowed from the NFL and NASCAR.
I came away sensing that:
- Not that much is changing, which is good with the successful early portion of the season, not particularly exciting for the lackluster mid-portion of the schedule, but potentially good with the "Fall Chase" concept
- As reader Blue Blazer points out, it's hard to imagine the top players playing every week from the PGA until the Ryder Cup/Presidents Cup. So how that will work, or why we'll get excited about what amounts to a series of events where the rich get richer, remains to be seen.
- Coming off the success of the AmEx at Harding Park, thereported move to Tampa in March looks like a huge setback compared to what we just witnessed or could see if the event went to exotic courses and cities around the world. Isn't the Florida swing long enough already?
- There appear to be no plans to offer a couple of new formats or something to rejuvenate lackluster events. Maybe it's just me thinking of the dreary courses played in certain cities, but moving the Valero Open to May or the Match Play to Tucson (where there aren't too many interesting designs) may be exciting for the sponsors, but why should fans be excited?
- The rich get richer. Rude and Hoggard note that Tour school graduates and Nationwide Tour alum from the previous year will be lucky to get in 25 events this year because of medical exemptions, and that number only figures to go do. But since Jason Gore was the best story on the PGA Tour this year (sorry Tiger), and Sean O'Hair wasn't far behind, this is a concern. Unheralded success stories are one of the most compelling things about pro golf, and by discouraging new blood in favor of the marketing-safe star system, the Tour could be doing long term hard to the uh, product. (See Champions Tour.)