Everywhere I turn, I see articles about the end of the golf season. I see discussions about “Player of the Year” honors; surveys about who did what and when; admonitions about how this player completed this task and that player missed another great opportunity.
With that in mind, it seems a perfect opportunity to raise the questions I know are pressing through so many of our brains about Tour golf.
1. Will Tiger come back as strong as ever?
Having watched Tiger for 14 years, not only do I think he will come back stronger, I am prepared to guarantee my statement. I have known only a few athletes like Woods. Tommy John comes to mind. It took Tommy almost two years to return from a surgery that now bears his name. In all my years working around the players on Dodger teams, I don’t ever remember anyone more positive than Tommy John. He always knew he would make it, that he would “raise the bar” on determination and desire. I see Tommy John in Tiger Woods. Give Woods something to prove and he will prove it.
2. What will be done about the Cup?
A guy wins the last two events and does not win the Cup. Not much of a crescendo going on here. I’m pretty sure we will see “minor” changes. We’ll see a change in the distribution of points with the fist Cup event offer fewer points than the Tour Championship. This is ok but the Tour must deal with the major issue: Is this a play-off or not?
For me, there is a much larger issue. I think the Tour has to deal with the concept of 30 guys playing for $7,000,000 and playing for their place in the FedEx Cup point standings. How about a Tour Championship with just the FedEx Cup at stake?
3. What to do about the Fall Series?
Let’s face it. With the economy going south for the winter and a few other seasons, I have some pretty large fear about sponsorship packages for Tour events. There is nothing good about this for any American. There might, however, be something good about this for the Tour. It will make them face a decision about their events after the Cup.
Before I go on to say that tour golf should take a vacation from October to January, I want to give Justin Timberlake and the Tour major credit for chasing a new viewer group for their Las Vegas event, and doing it quite well. The Las Vegas Tournament is doing everything possible to attract a much younger audience. Will it work? We will have to wait and see.
One thing is certain; very few golf fans seem to care about the Fall Series. Heck, a not very large audience (trying to say this nicely) just watched the FedEx Cup, which is supposed to be the crown jewel of the Tour.
I know there is a responsibility on the part of the Tour to create opportunity for all its members, but if the economy continues in its current cycle, some tough decisions will have to be made regarding tournament golf in October, November and December. Those sponsorship dollars might be needed during other months of the tour calendar.
4. Is there a group of new Sherriff’s for a PGA Tour Marketing plan?
Tiger is King, no doubt about it. Tiger makes the boat run. But did the Ryder Cup create a group of younger, non-traditional players’ types for the Tour to use to chase an entirely new audience? NASCAR at the PGA Tour. If there was ever a chance for the Tour and the PGA of America to begin the difficult journey of making golf a young man’s sport, it is now. The faces have arrived. Camilo, Anthony, Bubba, even old man Garcia. It is time for the our governing parties to hire new advertising agencies that will target the 18-34 year old male and get him excited about this incredible sport.
5. Just to be an equal opportunity employer… What would the LPGA Tour give to Paula Creamer continue her rise?
With Annika hanging up her spikes, the LPGA is lighting candles daily for Paula to replace her. Every sport needs a 1 and a 2. With Annika leaving, everyone wondered who would chase Lorena? I think we have found the answer and it comes wrapped with a pink bow.
It is a little unfortunate that 2008 is ending with Vijay being handed his Cup and a $10 million dollar check in the middle of a round. It takes away from a pretty spectacular year of golf, one which we will discuss next week.
So here is the question, what was your favorite moment of 2008? Tiger and Rococo? The Ryder Cup? How about Paddy winning 3 majors in 13 months? Or Norman at the Open Championship? Send me your thoughts as we compile our list of best moments in 2008.