John Renslow: A potential problem for the PGA
This is no longer the “silly season” for the PGA Tour.
Not so long ago, this time of the year, we were watching father/son tournaments or the Three Tour Challenge. Virtually none of the top players participated, there were no FedEx points, and the money fell well short of regular event.
With an essentially seamless so-called “wrap around” schedule today (that ends and begins near the beginning of October) many of the top players are in the field, the FedEx points are adding up, and the money is keeping up with the Joneses.
For the PGA Tour, an added bonus may become an intriguing problem. If you’ve been following the schedule, the Tour has adopted some international events.
Last week, the Tour was in Japan for the ZOZO Championship. It’s a long plane ride, but well worth it when the purse is larger than most events and the winner gets $1.8M for his trouble.
This week the boys are in Bermuda for the Butterfield Bermuda Championship. It’s not a marquee event, but the points count and the money is good.
Next week, its back on the continent, yet south of the border to the World Wide Technology Championship in Mexico.
All of this is good for the Tour. The key is that more people are watching and that is the lifeblood of professional golf.
More people in Asia are watching. More people in Mexico are watching. More people around the world are watching.
Enter the potential problem for the PGA Tour: The World Golf Tour.
For years, certain top international players, past and present, have encouraged a global tour. In fact, a few locations in the states have hosted a World Golf Championship. This spring, in Austin, Texas we’ll see the World Golf Championships — Dell Technologies Match-Play.
It has been just a few events per year for 20 years. But now, things are getting more serious. Word is that Greg Norman is going to lead a World Golf Tour. The 66-year-old Australian is one of golf’s greats and an astute businessman.
LIV Golf Investments, a Saudi organization, is putting $200 million into a calendar of 10 events.
Here is dilemma. The American PGA Tour has been the most profitable and prolific since televised golf was born. The best players from around the world play here.
A World Golf Tour would mean more money and more notoriety for the elite players or even a relatively larger section of a large pie for other players.
What would Major League Baseball be like if the Yankees, Dodgers, Red Sox and Giants decided to leave the league and play for an International Baseball League?
It’s still early and we don’t even have a schedule. Yet, it’s a very interesting scenario and ultimately we hope it’s good for the game.
John Renslow is a PGA professional, VP of Yugi Golf Management, and provides golf instruction at local courses
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