In politics, we have the famous saying, “It’s the economy ...”
On the PGA Tour, “it’s the schedule.”
Of course everybody doesn’t seem to get that. When it comes to PGA Tour tournaments, the more popular ones love to brag about their great fields. Explaining why, they tout their great hospitality, that wonderful new sponsor, the legendary host, the course, the designer, the large purse, things to do in the area.
Ok, dig some of that, but the number one reason for drawing the best players in the world is when the tourney is played.
I recall the Greater Greensboro Open, held in my hometown since 1938. Its placement the week before the Masters doomed it to B-side status. Oh sure, Jack came once, Arnie and Lee more than that, and the winner sometimes dramatically qualified for the Masters. The early April date meant it was rarely was hot and humid.
But remember Tom Weiskopf’s 64 in brutal winds and dodging April showers?
The Greensboro tournament (who can keep up with the sponsor changes) got moved to August several years ago. It has not lured in the greats, but being in the playoff has given it a bit more cache. You can make incremental progress, but it ain't easy and it's pretty rare.
Writing an excellent update on this subject is Rex Hoggard by the Golf Channel. He explains the situation quite well.
Tiger Wood’s tournament starts today, the players teeing it up in steamy temps. Despite what Ian Baker Finch might say, the Quicken Loans National does not have a great field. Host Tiger, Ricky Fowler, Justin Rose and some fading greats such as Ernie Els will hunt for birdies by the lake 25 miles west of DC. But it is a field sorely lacking in marquee players and Tiger is still on the hunt for a good date.
In a nutshell, it’s a zero sum game. The top players choose to play a certain amount of tournaments each year. A good May date can help as in the case with Charlotte, but even once premier tourneys such as Arnie’s and Peeble Beach have seen diminished fields.
Tiger would love to have had Jordan Speith and Bubba Watson woo the Washington galleries. We can’t help but think that those fat paychecks is a factor in their not coming. Speith has earned almost $9M so far, Bubba almost $5M and the Top Ten a combined $45M.
But that ignores the real reason.
It’s the schedule...