PGA Tour logo.jpgMike Bianchi looks at the PGA Tour's "NFL problem" and the future of the Funai classic.

"The reality is that we can't compete week in and week out with NFL football on Sunday or a big college football game on Saturday," admitted Tom Pernice Jr., who was atop the Funai leaderboard when the rains came Friday.

And to think, there was a time at the height of Tigermania when PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem actually predicted that golf would someday hold its own in a ratings battle with King Kong Football. Now, it appears, Finchem realizes the folly of such thinking and is ready to punt.

But is the NFL really the cause of the Tour's ratings problem? Bianchi:

Then again, doesn't every sport pale in comparison to the NFL? Even baseball plays its weekend World Series games at night so it doesn't have to compete with football. An argument could be made that every sport in this country -- except the NFL -- is a niche sport.

Of the possibility of a late season schedule demise, Bianchi writes:

If this happens, the future of late-season tournaments like the Funai is murky at best, miserable at worst. If the official tour season ends in September, the Funai could be relegated to second-class status and filled with no-names just trying to earn enough money to keep their tour cards.

It's interesting that there still has been no news of players seeing a proposed 2007 schedule (other than Finchem meeting with Tiger, Vijay and Phil).  Could it be that it's been determined for sometime and there is just a delay to build a consensus? Or a desire to spring this on the majority when it's too late to make significant changes?

The more I read of the NASCAR like finish, the more I wonder how the rank-and-file Tour player feels about a setup that will further separate 30 or so players from the rest. 

And as fans, why will that be interesting? Who cares about who gets the final few spots in the Tour Championship other than agents, accountants and immediate family members of players?