Month In Review: January 2007

WeekInReview2.jpgBecause of time constraints (not because I don't love your comments), I've made the missing-in-action week in review a month in review this January. But since I don't have a logo for it and because I hope to get back to doing the week in review, you get the old logo. (I know, questionable brand platforming practices at work here.)

And because I'll be out all day Thursday, I figured this was a good time to look back at a busy month. All of the posts from the month can be found here should you be feeling the need to get goose bumps all over again.

That reminds me, the month did include two exclusives: an IM exchange between Tiger and Tim Finchem along with another IM chat between Tim and LPGA Commish Carolyn Bivens.

The most volatile subject of the month was the continued questioning of the FedEx Cup.

Hawkeye: The whole idea of starting off scratch after a long season makes the long season pointless, so that would be the worst idea of them all. The term "playoffs" is a misnomer, anyway, golf is not played in a cup format other than in match-play.

Jamie: Finchem has been saying since late 05 that this cup race would "Incentivize" the best players in the game to play against each other more often. mercedes and tour championship were skipped last year by El Tigre and Philly Shank, and so we return this year only to witness the same "Incentivizing" taking place. just a thought, if Finchem and the after 5:00 o'clock brainstorming VP's marketed and promoted players in the top 50 like Kevin Sutherland with the same intensity as the promotion of the Fed Up Cup Finchem wouldn't have had to dream up this FECES nonsence.

Russel: Playoffs are based on a regular season, how can you have a points race for a stupid cup when not every PGA Tour member will play in 50% of whats known as the regular season. With 36 events before the Playoffs, how many events will the 60 members of Q-School and Nationwide Grads actually be able to play in?

RHW: Why is it that I envision this FedEx Cup as a total disaster with the same outcome as moving the Senior Tour broadcasts to MSNBC? Points, no points, next we'll be hearing about the 10,000 point deduction from Rory Sabatini's total for storming off the 17th green.

Then there was The Golf Channel's GOLF CHANNEL'S coverage of the first three events.

RM: All this build up and then we get Mike Ritz all over the season opener Golf Central. How is that guy on TV?

Scott: Hate to admit it, but ever since I got a TiVo box last Christmas, I now know that "golf coverage" is really an endless stream of commercials, interspersed with shots of leaderboards or leaderboard graphics, "analysts" pontificating about shots, an occasional cutaway to "the amazing sand save" shot as referred to in those PlayGolfAmerica commercials, several PlayGolfAmerica commercials, people sinking two foot tap-in putts followed by their scorecard, and then the gratuitous "bumper shot" of the out of focus flower/tree/cactus/waterfall, depending on the locale...
I LOVE playing golf, but watching it in real-time is a TOTAL waste of time - thanks to DVR technology, I can compress a three hour golf telecast into about 20 minutes...

Yeah but Scott, you're missing out on the storylines!

F.X.: I agree about the boring coverage and the necessity of TiVO/DVR. You have to ask what the Tour(s) and the Golf Channel does well -- not much IMHO. The problem is the marketing types drive the presentation of the events, and by and large the golf they play is not community or club golf, but resort/business entertainment golf.

chico: Why is every tournament a "Championship"?,- as in "Vijay is 4 under for the championship". Can't we save that for the majors? The word "tournament" should be good enough for these average outings.

CT Golfer: Journalism will be less of a factor on TGC as the year goes along and their shows become more of a PR vehicle for Ponte Vedra.

JohnV: It is nice to see 4+ hours of Saturday coverage, some coverage of guys who might not be in the last 2 groups (we'll see how they do on that when Tiger is in the hunt), no coming on late because a college basketball game ran late due to the incessant fouls and timeouts called by the coach whose team was down 10 with 1 minute to play, and no leaving early because "our time window has run out".

Jeremy Rudock: Faldo desperately needs a foil in the booth with him. He was at his best when Azinger was there to prod him along.

LD: Nick Faldo is a very clever and entertaining guy, and the producers just need to work with things for a while and find the right combination to showcase his talents. I am sure that in time the Golf Channel's PGA coverage will be as good as anything we've seen in golf TV.

Ardmore Ari: The majority of PGA Tour golf on TV is so boring to watch b/c of the mold with which PGA Tour golfbots are cut from today. I am not interested in the tour b/c I don't feel anything about its players. The best part about golf in the 60's thru the mid 90's was the colorful characters that played the game. They got us to feel something tangible so that when we watched them on TV there was something enjoyable to take away from sitting in front of it for four hours at at time like you do football today?

Doug: Until the popular culture pendulum swings back to where class and sportsmanship is appreciated and valued, I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for the ratings to swing up appreciably...

Lloyd Cole after the "standing ovation" by Tilghman and Faldo for Tadd Fujikawa: Agreed the kid's performance was great, and yes I was watching. I do think TGC have proven they are right up there with the Networks in their unashamed sentimentality - 'This kid's been fighting all his life' etc. So TGC has a standing O, ABC would have filmed a weepy reeactment of the first 6 months.

BNW: No close ups, no HD, no fun to watch. This isn't three steps backwards for televised PGA Tour golf, it's more like 20.

On the circulation numbers at Golf Magazine...

jneu: Golf Magazine has done a remarkable job of turning itself into Golf Tips Illustrated. It's lost nearly any writer worth reading (and good luck finding who's written each article, since the credits are generally presented in type the size of photo credits), and has never met a technology it didn't slurp over. As for why you (and I) pay for it, it's because we don't much mind writing an annual $12 check, and we give the magazine about as much thought in a year as we do the three triple-lattes we could buy for the same money (though the lattes would be more stimulating).

ReverendTMac: It's not the GM numbers that concern me - as someone who works in the industry, it's the 20/20 numbers. I'm a recent grad of a PGM program, and all we got beat into our heads is how rosy the future looks for the golf industry and how many people are starting to golf...and nobody wants to talk about the fact that as many folks are getting out of the game as there are coming in. The numbers are flat, they've been flat for seven years (just like the article says), and I don't see anything on the horizon that'll stop the bleeding.

On Peter Dawson and his claims that "We now see balls spinning more from 2in or 3in rough than they do when hit from the fairway."

John G:  I would believe that spin rates from 2-3" rough could be similar, but not quite as good as from a normal fairway lie. But BETTER spin rates from rough than from a nice tightly mown fairway?? C'mon. I'm not THAT gullible. These guys are desperate to say anything to distract from the real issues.

ken-one-putt: The correct question is whyinhell are they talking about making millions of dollars worth of clubs nonconforming when they admit that the grooves don't help anyone but the elite player? I play by the rules, and I play in lots of tournaments, so almost all of the wedges I like would be banned, as would the irons I currently play, and they've admitted I gain no advantage from them. Yes, that makes me unhappy.

On Hank Haney's comments about courses getting tougher and well, he was all over the map, I can't summarize what he said.

Pete the Luddite: Testing has consistently shown (even on the U$GA papers) that players with the higher swing speeds are those who benefit most from the hot ball. There is a hinge point on the curve measuring swing speed vs. benefit in distance. Below that point, there is not a substantial benefit. So, slower swingers do not receive a benefit, while the faster ones receive a huge benefit that gets them much further off the tee. Ramp back the ball speed and you will simply make the benefit for distance less when you look past that hinge point on the swing speed curve.

R. Thompson: Forget about ball manufacturers suing, it's these obosolete courses that should be breathing down the USGA'S neck. Not to mention the slow play associated with 6.5 hr rounds sucking less room on the tee time sheet, which leads to less rounds being played. If there's Bifurcation taking place in the game it's between the Country Clubs and the daily fees courses.

On the Canadian Open impending demise...

Ian Andrew: The RCGA rellies on the revenue from the Canadian Open to the tune of 2 to 2.5 million to conduct its other programs. The sponsorship is part of the renenue stream - costs the sponsoring company around 6 million. You do the math, if they can't get this done soon, they will have to tighten their belts quick. The Candian Open, and all its history, is on death's door and very few people in the PGA Tour care.

On the Bob Hope Classic's demise...

Chuck: You guys are being too hard on Finchem. I think he's being genuine when he talks about "giving the fan a better experience" at places like the Classic Club. I saw the fan. He was standing to the left of the 14th fairway on Sunday. He had on a light blue windbreaker and hat a navy woolen cap pulled down low. In future years, they might have many more, perhaps dozens, of other "fans." Commissioner, I knew the fan. I spectated with the fan. Commissioner, you're no fan...
01.25.2007 | Unregistered CommenterChuck

On the NGF's new advocacy of course "culling"...

Four-putt: In the late 1980s, the National Golf Foundation stated the Chicago area needed to build 200 brand-new courses by 2000 to meet the growing demand. We built about 110 -- which is about 20 too many. I used to get upset when a course was sold and converted for other uses. Not any more, though. It's part of the food chain. We need to close about 15-20 more (of over 370 in the market) right away to ease the stresses.

And finally, on news of the USGA-Lexus presenting sponsor deal:

BNW: They had to do something like this with a lot of people denouncing their USGA memberships whilst taking up NASCAR and professional poker as new hobbies. Self preservation Geoff, that's what the USGA is all about in the 21st century.

Bill: I find it odd that the UNITED STATES GOLF ASSOCIATION can't find a way to select a UNITED STATES car company as it's automotive partner.