PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem is negotiating a new TV contract to replace the current $850 million deal, which runs through next year. It is said he is looking to make the schedule "sexier" to the networks by, for one thing, shortening the season.
Combine that with the fact that there are now 48 tournaments and that both Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have complained the schedule is too long, you could get good odds the PGA Tour will be dropping some tournaments.
So, here are my unsolicited suggestions to Finchem about which tournaments to drop:
• Before we start, Tim, make sure you hold on to all the tournaments without a title sponsor in their names. That includes the four majors, the Players Championship, the Memorial, the International and the Reno-Tahoe Open.
• Then cut the tournaments with exceedingly annoying sponsor names. That would include the John Deere Classic, the 84 Lumber Classic and the Southern Farm Bureau Classic. In fact, cut any tournament having anything to do with tractors or farmers. Tell them NASCAR needs sponsors.
• Axe the Canadian Open. I don't think it's even in this country.
• Eliminate the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championships. This is America - we don't give a hoot about match play.
• Eliminate the Bell South Classic in Georgia because Bell South screwed me over on my phone bill one time. Give them the news via Western Union.
• Unceremoniously dump the Wachovia Championships at Quail Hollow because Wachovia charges you when you use your debit card at a non-Wachovia bank even though the non-Wachovia bank is charging you, too. Then hit them with a bunch of unseen charges - see how they like it!
• Take the Zurich Classic off the schedule because there are more important things to do in New Orleans now than play golf.
• Cut the B.C. Open - if they can't spell it out they don't deserve it.
• Strike one, two or even three of the tournaments hawking cars. Good Lord, you have the Mercedes, Nissan, Honda, Ford, two Buicks and four Chryslers. That's not counting the Michelin Championship in Las Vegas. The PGA Tour needs to make up its mind about which car it's going to shill for. I say keep the Mercedes, because that's what the players drive, and the Honda, because the transmission doesn't keep breaking down.
• Combine the Booz Allen and Cialis Western Open. Nothing like booze and erectile dysfunction to stir up the crowds.
• Move the Players Championship from March to May, just to shut everybody the hell up. Whisper to them, "dude, if you move to May, you may be considered the fifth major." Deny it to the press.
That's the easy part. There are certain other "sexy" moves you could make, Mr. Finchem, to entice the networks:
• Pay more attention to the beer cart girls. In my life, I've never seen one cart girl on a televised PGA Tour tournament.
• Make the players pay green fees and for range balls. You'd make a small fortune off Vijay Singh alone.
• Don't let Craig Stadler play in any PGA Tour events. I have a hunch he scares people off.
• Put a microphone on Woods. Aside from being the best player in the world, he's one of the best cussers.
• Jack and Coke for all those missing the cut.
• Hidden cameras in locker rooms.
• For god's sake, no more sponsor interviews! They'd bore the mud off a mud hen.
• Guest comedian commentators. Put Bill Murray high on your list.
• Let them gamble on the course. Think about how much attention Retief Goosen and that fat guy got for making a small wager after they had both blown the U.S. Open. Gambling is as integral to the everyday golfer as his bad swing.
• Install lie detectors at all player interviews. And while you're at it, make the last guy in the field give an interview - we're sick of all this happy talk.
• Calendar. What, you think you're better than the LPGA? Highlight Jason Gore.
• Sponsor exemptions for Natalie Gulbis, while we're at it.
• Cut back on the commercials, man. What, $850 million isn't enough to keep you in bling, to use a cool, slang word I've heard other hip people use. Take a little less from the networks and give us all a break.
• Let the caddies use pull carts. It wouldn't make you look so, well, Republican.
• Shoot Ben Crane with a deer rifle.
September 19, 2005
Simply select where you want to play, find a tee time deal, and golf now!