Golf Channel on NBC Analyst Mark Rolfing is in Orlando, FL this week for the coverage of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. In talking about the changes to the PGA TOUR beginning in 2013, Rolfing began by saying that his biggest question was about how it would impact the Hawaii events. The Hawaii events will no longer start the season although they will now start the calendar season but he is unsure what the impact will be. He has long supported changing the qualification system for the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and thinks that PGA TOUR should take a long look at how they can make those events more attractive.
The PGA TOUR does not have an All-Star game or an event similar to that and he supports the idea of making the Hyundai Tournament of Champions an event that could be the All-Star Game for the TOUR.
When it comes to the three event series, he does not like the idea of taking away all of the available PGA TOUR cards from Q-School. He thinks that the schedule changes will only create more pressure for players to play in the fall while simultaneously wiping out the offseason and the PGA TOUR like any sports league needs a set offseason.
Stars drive the PGA TOUR like any other sports league and Mark acknowledged that it will be difficult to persuade the big name players to tee it up in the fall events two weeks after the TOUR Championship because it comes right after the PGA Championship and the FedExCup Playoffs. As a result, he thinks that many players will start to take January and February off and that will have a negative impact on the events in Hawaii and the West Coast.
The first time he met Arnold Palmer was in the late 1970’s right after he moved to Hawaii. He played golf with Mr. Palmer the first time he met him when he was designing the second course at Kapalua. It is absolutely remarkable what Arnold Palmer has done to help the game and although he did not know the complete picture then, he knows it now and truly appreciates Mr. Palmer’s contributions.
The difference between players now and players years ago is that players today do not have as much time to devote to hosting a tournament as Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus have. He hopes to see current players host events but he does not know if they will be able to with all of the commitments involved.
He is not worried about Tiger Woods at all following his withdrawal from the WGC-Cadillac Championship. He watched Tiger play in the Tavistock Cup on Golf Channel and thinks that his swing and his walk look great. Tiger will probably play very well this week as well as in two weeks at Augusta National in The Masters.
When he listens to Bubba Watson talk about the way he plays, Mark’s impression is that he visualizes shots and then his eyes tell his brain what to do. Bubba has never had a swing coach and it is interesting to see how he plays golf with his eyes. He is interested to hear that Bubba has an easy time visualizing shots when he is in the desert because of the contrast between the fairway and the sand but that he has a more difficult time when there is a lot of water.
He said that Bubba Watson is a feel putter and has a natural position in his stance. As a result, he thinks that Tiger should putt more like Bubba because it would make him less technical and in theory it would make him more relaxed over his putts.