This Week at TravelGolf.com: August 30, 2005
Tim Finchem going down the
wrong road with NASCAR model
The PGA Tour isn't NASCAR. It is not battling the
image of fans who fly Confederate flags, chug Budweiser by
the bucket, live in their RVs and think a white undershirt
is formal wear.
NASCAR needed to do something dramatic to
break from its past, to convince all the corporate
sponsors that jumped aboard the car that it was expanding
far beyond its base. The 10-race, 10-driver playoff system fit the bill perfectly, helped NASCAR fuel the illusion that those stereotypical fans from places like Santee, S.C. had been replaced by countless NASCAR
The PGA Tour does not have those issues (or nearly,
the number of devoted toothpaste-buying fanatics as
NASCAR). Blindly following NASCAR's lead into a late-season playoff is not going to change that either. By all indications, this is PGA Tour Commissioner Tim
Finchem's great brainchild. To copy NASCAR. But adopting a playoff after the PGA
Championship is not going to reinvigorate golf.
Golf, above almost all other sports except perhaps baseball, lives off its history. And golf's long been about what's done in its majors. Does Finchem think that
Tiger Woods is suddenly going to drop his Jack
Nicklaus pursuit and become focused on winning an
annual contrived playoff?
Please! You have a better chance of getting Tiger
to admit he was wrong for bailing
out on the PGA Championship, Vijay
Singh making up with his old caddy and Phil
Mickelson showing up with Bo Jackson's old physique in
the same week.
A playoff will always play second fiddle to the
events that really matter. And what kind of playoff is
that? Can you imagine the Yankees going into the World
Series, thinking "yeah, it'd be nice to win this, but that April series victory over the Devil Rays is what truly secured our legacy?"
There can be no playoff in golf that's meaningful because there
already is one. It's called the four majors.
Finchem needs to drop his NASCAR obsession. Golf is never getting auto racing's ratings numbers. Everyone can drive a car. Hitting a golf ball well is excruciatingly
hard. Everyone is never going to be able to relate.
Instead, the PGA Tour should concentrate on the
things it can easily fix. Like shortening its season, so
golf actually has a season instead of an endless
succession of tournaments. Woods and Mickelson, the best players in the game, have called for this and it's time to listen. With fewer tournaments, each one would take on added meaning. When you turn on golf, you'd see Tiger, Phil and Vijay going head-to-head rather than stumbling across an Andre Stolz holding off a Tag Ridings in a Michelin
Championship every other weekend.
Forget the rednecks on wheels. Look to your own
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So you're down in Weston, Fla. and you've been beaten up by the East Course
at Bonaventure. You're looking to get back your groove when you notice the
yardage book for the West course: 6,126 yards. Rama-lama-ding-dong! Longer
than an executive course, but short enough for you to be a bully boy! Not so
fast, Tiger. The West may be shorter than the East but it isn't that much
easier, especially if you let down your guard.
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Even in a setting as posh as the Monterey Peninsula, public, affordable,
seaside links golf is there for those who don't carry Platinum cards.
Witness Pacific Grove Golf Links. Here in the land of $300 green fees it's
refreshing to drive into a parking lot totally lacking in pretension. So
low-key is the approach to this "Poor Man's Pebble Beach" that, if you're
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Called the "Hostess City of the South," Savannah, Ga. brings with it the
image of lovely girls in white dresses having a sweet iced tea. Face it, you
can't even say the name "Savannah" without adding in a slight Southern
drawl. Try it. And like most key cities in the South, Savannah's a place to
golf, with nearly 20 courses in a city of just 130,000. Courses range from
the mammoth and extravagant to smaller and more discrete.
Full story | Help American Red Cross help golfers, friends and family in the South