Thankfully the British Open arrives to save us from bickering about the PGA Tour's many questionable moves of late, but many of your comments are worth revisiting. You know, just in case someone in Ponte Vedra cares.
Regarding Scott Michaux's commentary on Tim Finchem, Matt writes: "Finchem definitely created this monster himself when purses rose faster than the market could reliably sustain. And of course the top players are now so rich that they're not going to play any smaller events that could use their support. This FedEx cup mess is going to produce a chorus of snores, guaranteed."
And Martin Del Vecchio commented, "Tim Finchem works for the PGA Tour players, and mostly works for the elite players. He has helped to make them very rich, and they are happy with his service. It's a perfect closed system. The "golf fans" don't matter much any more, unless they happen to run Fortune 500 companies, and can pony up $5 million (or whatever) each year to sponsor a tournament."
On the Western Open's demise, Smolmania writes, "There is one event in this country which has been played longer than the Western Open. . . and that's the U.S. Open. Won't Walter Hagen be proud knowing that he won the BMW Championship? Our only hope is that when the FedUp Cup (with its FECES entry system) falls flat on its face, that we can have our tournament back."
Regarding the Fed Ex Cup, Daryl writes:How does the Charles Schwab Cup points race work on the Champions Tour? Do we even care, it's tape delayed on the Golf Channel now?
And Steve makes this interesting point: On another note related to the demise of Tournaments lately, has Greensboro named a new title sponsor for 2007? Booze Allen's announcement came in March, Chrysler decided in January that they were done in Greensboro as title sponsor but I don't see Finchem holding a press conference to announce the demise of that event. Is it because Tiger's agent was involved in helping that event survive Finchem's guillotine?"
On Doug Ferguson's story about Tiger and Phil being the driving force behind the new schedule and its impact on the Western, Glyn notes, "There's a difference between stating that the season is too long and cutting a tournament that's been around for 100 years."
GeorgeM brings up this point though: "Will the changes we have seen so far benefit PGAT members? I have no idea. Why not wait until December 2007 to evaluate what Tim hath wrought?"
George also had this to say about the FedEx Cup points: "If the PGAT wants something other than the Money List, they should use the OWGR. Points earned by PGAT members in PGAT sanctioned events would do the job."
On the subject of more spontaneous changes in course setup to better test players from day to day (and to keep things fresh), Scott S writes, "I do believe, though, that hole locations should be decided at the crack of dawn on every day they are to be moved, rather than in advance of a tournament. Too much foreknowledge can be a bad (boring) thing."
And Matt again: "If, at the next British Open at St. Andrews, the R&A decides to tee off on the first hole from a new secret tee on the roof of the clubhouse for the second round, that would be neat. Then, for the final round, they could move the tees up to around 280 yards to tempt the players into driving the green and bringing the burn more into play. Surprises are good!"
Scott says: it seems like these sorts of ideas are band aids. They try to chip away at problems and, i believe, will likely create more issues than they solve...The real fix is far more complicated and will take years--equipment."
Lefty brought the subject back to Phil Mickelson (where it originated), and wrote: "I don't think the extent that Mickelson prepares is beneficial. Although going to the course and playing many practice at Winged Foot did aid Phil, allowing him to be in contention at WF despite not hitting the ball well at all, I do agree with those that think that his set decisions on what club he'd use on 18, and his inability to adjust to the situation did hurt him."
And Charlie Bell writes, "The downside of this, which no one has mentioned, is that the USGA et al could be accused of setting up a course on Sunday in order to favor or penalize particular individuals in contention. Imagine if Corey Pavin and Tiger were in the final pairing... So, from this angle (which escaped me previously) perhaps the USGA's preplanning is defensible. Still, they should keep the darned information secret."
Finally, on the subject of Dick Rugge's latest remarks about the USGA having plenty of time to research things because the distance surges have slowed down, Chuck writes: "And there is this statement: 'This stability might mean Rugge and his staff have caught up to changing technology.'
"Caught up? What does that mean? Even Mr. Rugge and Mr. Rich say publicly that their testing and study are still in process. And they haven't changed any regulations or testing protocols that have arrested any new technology. So no one should claim that the USGA has "caught up" in recent years. They haven't actually done anything yet, by their own admission, other than to study the issue. I'm not critical of those efforts; I am all for the USGA basing its actions on the best information there is. But they haven't done anything, yet, and the real question is what action will be taken as the study is completed."