Shocking as it may seem, I don't TiVo Golf Hawaii hosted by Mark Rolfing. But at JWH's suggestion I recorded the current edition. And boy was it grand.
Attention golf writers who use this free-of-charge transcription work: I will cite your stories when the IRS questions my TiVo write-off.
Okay here's the deal. Mark Rolfing, interviewing Phil in Hawaii during November's Grand Slam of Golf, starts by saying how the 2007 television contract is the talk of the Tour. Then...
MARK ROLFING: Have you been part of the planning process?
PHIL MICKELSON: No, I haven’t. I was asked maybe a year and a half ago what I thought about certain ideas and I don’t necessarily support what’s going on, but what I feel needs to happen is we need to have the top guys playing against each other more often. And we’ll do that 2 or 3 more times. So that is a good thing. But in my opinion it’s really a half-hearted attempt at what we need to do which is force the top players to play against each other on specific tournaments 12 times a year in addition to the four majors, the Players Championship, and the three World Golf Championships. And that would give us 20 events where the top players play against each other.
But Mark, what happens is the sponsors love it because they know what they are buying. They are paying more money but are guaranteed that the top 100 guys are going to play against each other. The fans love it because that’s what they want to see. And television loves it because that’s what they want to buy. But the reason it doesn’t happen is because the 150 guys on Tour who are fighting to keep their card have such a strong voice that it stops anything like that going through. So 150 guys control and can stop what would ultimately be good for the Tour in my opinion, and that’s to stand up to the top players and force them to play these specific events, but reward them by having a larger purse because you can sell it to sponsors, television and the fans a lot easier.
MARK ROLFING: How would you force top players to play in these 12 tournaments, let’s say?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well the Tour needs to be run independent of the players. And run as an entity just like Nascar does with their drivers. They force them to play certain events and you stand up and say, “look, if you don’t play these 12 events, and you don’t play the four majors and you don’t play the Players Championship and the World Golf Championship’s, you don’t have a card next year. You can’t play any of them.” Of course we’re going to play.
MARK ROLFING: Phil, if you were talking to the player on the PGA Tour that’s 100th on the money list instead of me today, how would you convince them that it might be the best thing for them, what you are talking about.
PHIL MICKELSON: Well I shouldn’t have to Mark. The commissioner needs to step up and make the statement that this is in the best interest of the Tour to have the top guys play against each other more often and it shouldn’t be his concern to try to justify it to everybody. He needs to stand up and run the Tour like a business, in the best interest of the Tour, in the best interest of the sponsors, television and the fans. And not have to justify it to other players or even the top players. He should stand up….and when it’s run like a business, we all need to buy into it and go with it. That includes for me being told what tournaments I have to play in. I’m fine with that because it’s in the best interests of the Tour, and I’m rewarded by it because we’re able to sell those tournaments for more money and ultimately play for a larger purse.
If you want to see this for yourself, the program airs a couple more times (listed here) between now and Christmas day.
And I've started a thread under Discuss Tournaments to chat about Phil's comments.