The PGA Grand Slam of Golf in Hawaii matched the years major champions in one foursome. Actually, wait a minute. Tiger Woods is just one man with two majors. And while Phil Mickelson is one man with one major ' he begged off the island before he got there. So the two-day battle gave us Tiger, Geoff Ogilvy, and non-major winners Jim Furyk and Mike Weir, who found a spot based on their consistency in the years majors.
Tiger wins. Did you watch?
The Skins Game provides another foursome in a made-for-television event that, over the last few years, really hasnt made much for television in more than a few peoples opinion. This year was the 24th for the Thanksgiving event and the ratings didnt exactly scream out for a silver anniversary edition in 2007; down a full ratings point on Sunday from a year ago, which basically means a million fewer people tuned in compared to 2005. Fred Couples, John Daly, Fred Funk and Stephen Ames tripped to the California Desert for 18 holes and a truckload of cash.
Stephen Ames wins. Did you watch?
The PGA TOUR Qualifying Tournament, or Q-School as it is most commonly referred, is just a 5-iron away from the site of the Skins Game. Same California desert, but hardly the same atmosphere. Six rounds of golf where each shot seems like it could be your last -- or the springboard to a PGA TOUR career that shows great promise, just as it did for J.B. Holmes a year ago. You might see a triple-bogey down the stretch when par would be plenty good enough to square off with Phil Mickelson at next years Bob Hope Chrysler Classic. You might see a putt fall in but pop out just as quickly as you can say Joe Daley (it happened to him a few years back at La Quinta, costing him his card). You might see a drop from the clubhouse roof that ultimately sends a player back to the minor leagues instead of up to the biggest show on earth (it happened to Roland Thatcher a few years back in Florida). Heck, you might see a player lining up a putt from just off the green ... only to lose his balance and fall backward into the greenside pond (it happened to Over The Cliff Kresge a few years back at La Quinta).
This year, what youll see in coverage on The Golf Channel are names like Lee Janzen and Duffy Waldorf, Chris Riley and Jonathan Kaye. Yep, theyre all out there in La Quinta, Calif., battling to keep going what once was a very good thing.
Somebody wins. Will you watch?
The beauty of Q-School is its unpredictability. The feeling you get at the Slam or the Skins is a feeling of predictability.
Finish among the top 30 and ties and you could be 2007s Holmes and win yourself a golf tournament. Lose your PGA TOUR card and you can be Riley, who just two years ago was playing in a Ryder Cup and this week opened with an eye-popping 83 amidst unpredictable 30-mile-per-hour winds.
Sure somebody wins. But 30 and ties consider themselves winners. Will you watch?
Ive covered the PGA TOUR Qualifying Tournament Finals on eight occasions during my time at The Golf Channel. For storylines, its easily as good as the Honda Classic and might just have the drama to (in its own way) rival a tight finish at The International.
This week is about jobs well-earned and opportunities lost.
Ill watch. But its my job. Will you? And if you do, is it better than the Grand Slam of Golf or the Skins Game?
Thats for you to answer, but Ill tell you that while the money hardly rivals the other two events, each of the lucky 30 who survive the School will feel just as good or better about what theyve accomplished.
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