Last week Jordan Spieth won the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, the first tournament of the Hawaiian leg of the PGA tour. Were you aware their have been other tournaments played in the 2016 PGA Golf Season other than the Holiday Pro Ams? Evidently they play golf directly after the season ends, which kicks off the next season, which makes that the official start of the season…or does it? Or is the Hawaiian stretch the official start???? Hell, I am not sure either. But for those of you that were unaware that there was golf prior to January, let’s review.
Frys.com Open – Emiliano Grillo
Shriners Hospitals for Children Open – Smylie Kaufman
CIMB Classic – Justin Thomas
World Golf Championship – Russell Knox
Sanderson Farms Championship – Peter Malnati
OHL Classic at Mayakoba – Graeme McDowell
RSM Classic – Kevin Kisner
Hyundai Tournament of Champions – Jordan Spieth
Okay, that catches us up. Today starts the Sony Open in Beautiful Kapalua Resort which is the second stop on the Hawaiian turn of the Tour. The PGA tour started this a couple of seasons ago trying to generate more excitement early in the season. The fact is, the Fed Ex Cup for the largest part has worked. The competition and how shakes out has been fairly entertaining for the last couple of seasons. But this late fall golf thing just does not work, and the viewership proves it.
The reason the PGA Tour had historically not had golf after October was to give the players a break because in the past the players for the most part played every week in order to make a living. Now, because the purses are so big players just don’t have to. Also, the popularity of NFL and College Football further proved out their theory. NFL is the king of fall and all other sports take a back seat with regards to TV coverage and viewership. The new schedule proves that they have been playing meaningless golf for Months now. Here is another way I will prove that point. Let’s look at the Fed Ex Cup Standings.
1) Kevin Kisner
2) Russell Knox
3) Justin Thomas
4) Graeme McDowell
5) Smylie Kaufman
6) Kevin Na
7) Jordan Spieth
8) Emiliano Grillo
9) Jason Bohn
10) Peter Malnati
I know all of these guys are great golfers, you have to be to be on tour. I am no idiot, I get it. But, other than Spieth, can you honestly see the other 9 players in the top ten…literally in the top ten? Maybe a couple, but that would be 9th or 10th at best. The best players in the world just do not play in the first handful of tournaments. Most don’t start until the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and the Sony. Some guys don’t start playing until February just because they don’t have to.
The fake tour start in late October through December has decreased the overall excitement for the average fan….Me. I used to look so forward to January as my passion for the game would become rekindled. Now, not so much. Now, it is just another stretch of golf in a year long season of golf. Too much of a good thing is never any good. When Football goes away in February, yes there are still things to talk about, but not games. That is the reason people line up at training camp to see the guys practice. And we are talking about Practice….
The Good Ole Days. The PGA tour needs to take a long look at this and just get back to what made it so great before. More than half of the country lives through seasons that does not allow them to play golf on a regular basis. When it goes dormant for a month or two, it’s like putting your clubs away for the winter. The Pro Am’s through the Holidays are like those couple of days you walk into the garage in December and see your clubs, it makes you happy to see them but you may not be ready to commit to the season just yet. Then…January comes. The stars come out to play in Hawaii and you watch a couple of rounds and it goes just a bit further than peeking your interest. It makes you happy. You start thinking about a Spring or late winter golf trip. You call your playing partners and start the annual dialogue. The winter then begins to take on a different feel. You start looking forward to that first round in the cold. And then…the next big step. You see the CBS commercial for “The Masters.” At that point, it’s full on.
You see, I love golf…but just like in other sports, my love of golf runs in seasons and I don’t think I am alone.