Punch Shot: Should Tour play more global events?

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 29, 2014, 1:30 pm

The PGA Tour is playing in Malaysia, China and Mexico over the next three weeks. Should it stray more often from the U.S.? GolfChannel.com writers weigh in on whether or not the Tour should play more international events.


It’s a prototypical double-edged sword, this business of questioning whether the PGA Tour should have more international events.

On the one hand, the suits in Camp Ponte Vedra should embrace the global expansion that has seen more NFL, NBA and MLB games contested abroad in recent years. On the other, one of the Tour’s jobs is to provide a worthy schedule for its constituency  and turning that schedule into a globetrotting exhibition that only a frequent flier like Gary Player could love wouldn’t exactly accomplish that goal.

While it sounds like a terrific idea on paper  or in a boardroom  the act of bringing more tourneys worldwide wouldn’t be met with open arms by the players. Just check out this week’s CIMB Classic field, a no-cut, guaranteed-money affair which went low enough on the alternate list that the likes of Nicholas Thompson, Roberto Castro and Will Wilcox have earned spots, not to mention numerous players from smaller circuits around the world.

If the PGA Tour could be guaranteed more starts from more top players at these events, I’d be all for it. Hey, it works for the LPGA. But having players travel the globe only to hold tournaments in places like Malaysia with fields that resemble the John Deere Classic seems counterproductive to the overall message.


It is a welcome period for the PGA Tour, three weeks, three tournaments played outside the confines of the Lower 48. It’s also a far too rare occurrence.

The next two weeks in Asia will showcase the Tour’s talent, but will also cast a spotlight on the circuit’s inability, or unwillingness, to take the circus on the road.

Outside of this Asia swing, and the occasional cameo at the Open Championship and to Canada or Mexico, the Tour has become far too insular for the modern world. It’s time for the circuit to travel and what better place to start than the four World Golf Championships events.

Other than next week’s WGC-HSBC Champions in China, the three “world” events are played at such far-flung places as Miami, Akron, Ohio, and San Francisco.

The buzzword in golf has long been growth – it is, after all, why the game returned to the Olympics in 2016 – and what better way to spark interest in developing markets than to ship the WGC-Match Play to Buenos Aires or Kuala Lumpur?

There was even talk last year of possibly sending the PGA Championship overseas, wherever that may be. What is certain, there are plenty of opportunities around the globe for the Tour to choose from.


Every golf fan should want to see an additional event or two internationally during the heart of the PGA Tour schedule, but it’s easy to see why the Tour stays home from mid-January to late October.

It’s not the simplest fix, logistically.

Putting the “world” back in three of the World Golf Championships  and thus moving one of the premier events somewhere other than the continental U.S. – is the easiest to justify, but even that shift comes with its share of headaches.

The WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral is in the midst of the Florida swing. The WGC-Match Play, now scheduled for the final weekend in April, is the week before The Players Championship, the Tour’s flagship event. And the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational is always the week before the PGA Championship. Moving any of those events would cause a trickle-down effect and affect the participation in either the WGC event or the tournaments surrounding it. In other words, it’s not worth it. 


The idea of taking more PGA Tour events overseas sounds appealing, but, unfortunately, it’s not practical. Remember what happened when the Tour took its Match Play Championship to Metropolitan Golf Club in Melbourne, Australia, at the start of the 2001 season? The game’s biggest stars didn’t go. Six of the top seven players in the world stayed home, including world No. 1 Tiger Woods, No. 3 David Duval and No. 4 Phil Mickelson.

Seeing iconic international venues appeals, but seeing the game’s biggest stars play together appeals more. Unless it’s to play in a major championship, or for a large appearance fee, it’s unlikely the PGA Tour will induce the lion’s share of its stars to travel overseas for a one-off event. An occasional PGA Championship overseas would work. Something in Europe before a British Open probably works, too, but it would feel like a hostile invasion of European Tour territory. Really, so many of Europe’s top stars are already living in South Florida. The World Golf Championship name may seem a misnomer with all but one of those events being played in the United States, but all the world’s stars are showing up for them when they are here. They work best in the U.S.


The PGA Tour probably doesn't need to add many more international events - the 10,000-mile commute that players faced this week from Georgia to Malaysia shows that a global schedule certainly has its drawbacks. But the Tour still should do a better job of diversifying its international outposts.

I'm sure Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club, host of this week's CIMB Classic, is a fine course. But it doesn't stack up well against many courses in Australia, and certainly at least a few in South Africa. Just because the Tour is international doesn't mean it's hitting the right venues, or markets.

Next week's WGC-HSBC Champions is the lone WGC event played outside the U.S., a fact that the Tour would be well-served to rectify. At least two of those four events should require a passport, ideally with a rotation of venues across several countries. Likewise, the PGA Championship appears poised to consider an international venue at some point in the near future, a choice that would boost the game.

There are plenty of world-class venues in top-notch travel destinations outside the U.S. The Tour doesn't have to find them all, but adding one or two to the schedule each year would be a step in the right direction as golf continues to become an increasingly global affair.

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.

Getty Images

Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

 There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.

It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.

Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.

Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.

Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.

After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.

Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

Getty Images

Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.