Back to work after our nations tragedy and terror on September 11th, this was the Buy.Com Tours biggest purse of the year to date. There was $556,000 up for grabs with a first-place check of $100,080. Thatll make it exciting, right? Believe me when I say, Im trying.
All the big names are here, playing for the big money that could land them in the coveted top 15 on the money list and send them to the PGA Tour in 2002. But, money and golf aside, things still dont seem right. The talk is not about the money; its still about the grieving, the hurt, the anger and the hope that all will soon be right with our world.
Last weeks Oregon Classic was cancelled with good reason. Nobody was thinking about anything but our countrys well-being. The Boise Open is going on as scheduled. Whether or not it should is an interesting topic.
In talking with the players this week, I got some interesting comments. The obvious reason for optimism came from veteran Michael Allen, who said, The President wants us to get back to work, and I think we need to get back together and share each others camaraderie once again. I couldnt agree more with the idea, but it seems that all were talking about is our disbelief and pain about what has transpired.
John Maginnes wasnt so sure we should be playing, saying, Maybe a little more time wouldnt be such a bad thing. But in going on, he seemed to put it best when he said, Im not sure I know the right answers anymore. And for that matter, Im not sure I understand the questions, either. Well said.
From the moment we began our Thursday telecast, I felt very uneasy about talkin golf. Normally the words come much easier. Normally the comments arent so calculated. Mark Lye, Jerry Foltz, Kay Cockerill and I seem quite comfortable in talking about virtually anything as it relates to the tournament or golf in general. But somehow I felt that each time I opened my mouth, I had to say the right thing, make sure I wasnt having too much fun, and keep things in their proper perspective.
My philosophy about televising this tour has always been about keeping things light ' while also realizing that these are professionals who are totally serious about their quest to reach the next level. There are great stories to tell about these guys. Many of them are just like you and me. They love the game, they love talking about the game and really love being talked to!
This week its just been tough. This tour stopped play at noon on Thursday for a Tribute to America. With red, white and blue all around, it was moving. And it just seemed to remind me that this weeks tournament, and this weeks giant purse, and this weeks trophy dont really mean much in the grand scheme of things.
Terms like 'battlefield promotion' dont seem appropriate these days. Nor do thoughts of 'fighting for a spot in the top 15', or 'bombing it out there some 320 yards.' Believe me, Im trying to be aware of what I say, which is making this week a challenge.
And maybe thats what I need to do. Say less. After all, John Maginnes went on to add that despite it all, hes just going to go out and try to win the golf tournament, and then try not to celebrate too much.
It will definitely be an interesting Sunday. But we all knew it wouldnt be easy. And with Maginnes comment firmly in mind, Ill try to keep it in proper perspective as well.