"Great Game's Long Goodbye"

It took way too long for John Huggan to weigh in on the Tour's '07 concept and the state of the game.

Oh but it was worth the wait.

A season-long points series will lead to a play-off-style Fed-Ex Cup involving leading qualifiers that will, it is hoped, identify the biggest draws in the game. Otherwise, America's ever-diminishing attention span, and its desire to satisfy an out-of-control gambling habit, may switch from fades to football even earlier than it does now.

Ah he was just warming up.

As always when the PGA Tour is involved, this proposed change to a long-established status quo has nothing to do with what may or may not be good for the game. To the surprise of no-one, this is all to do with money. Instead of taking a long, hard look at an increasingly one-dimensional product involving the use of driver, wedge and putter, Finchem and his army of sycophantic minions have gone for what appears to be a short-term fix: dazzling disgruntled networks with big names and numbers in advance of imminent negotiations for the renewal of television contracts.

Oh heck, why am I interrupting?

Such a move, you won't be shocked to hear, is shortsighted, and pays no attention to recent history and the demise of tennis as a participation/spectator sport in the US. As bigger racquets and hi-tech materials removed entertaining 'feel' players, such as John McEnroe and Ilie Nastase, from the upper echelons, tennis became more and more a power game dominated by big-serving behemoths. And not surprisingly, the public rejected that tedium. From a peak of 34 million in 1975, it is estimated that only 13 million Americans play tennis and only rarely does it make it onto network TV.

Golf is going the same way. The numbers are not pretty, yet administrators on both sides of the Atlantic do nothing to stop the game becoming more about grunts than guile.

Oh I'll stop here because he goes into that tedious USGA/R&A Statement of Principles stuff which you know all too well from the last week. And the various stats also thrown in your face here and here this week.