In John Hawkins' latest edition of the Aristocratic Golfer, he vents about the poor venue choice for next week's WGC Accenture Match Play. He somehow manages to make a lousy point that leads directly to an excellent point that often seems to go overlooked in Ponte Vedra when selecting new venues:
Forgive me for trying to make sense, but why not move the Match Play north to the TPC Scottsdale? Pro golf's largest galleries would totally invigorate this feeble gathering -- it's hard to imagine those crowds getting any smaller if they were given a field full of top-50s.
Okay, so that makes no sense. You don't break up the Phoenix Open/FBR at TPC Scottsdale for the WGC match play. However, the thinking was sound:
Because of the format, which comes with a higher risk in terms of holding TV viewers, no week on the schedule relies more on peripheral factors to make it a success.
On-site buzz ranks first, second and third on the periphery. Of course, it's easy for me to say. I wasn't in the board room when the tour agreed to transfer the elephants to a petting zoo.
A case could be made that on-site buzz is fueled in part by compelling architecture that excites fans. And playing within 15 miles a population base helps too.