Why Not Move The Players


Here we are, just a couple of days from the official start of Masters Week. Deep breaths everyone, given the weather last week and the deluge that put a halt to play at the Bellsouth Classic, Im just hoping we get the week in! I checked the weather forecast for Augusta next week ' chance of rain on Wednesday. The rest of the week is supposed to be nice. Augusta Weather
I must say that last week at The Players Championship might have been the single biggest letdown of any week Ive seen in 10 years at The Golf Channel. All the excitement of the best field in golf playing arguably the most dramatic course in golf ' and it turned out to be a rain soaked week and a Monday finish that wasnt even seen by everyone who wanted it. Dont blame NBC ' blame your local NBC affiliate who was left with the choice of to air or to error.
Move The Players Championship to the fall. Thats my vote. I love it in March, Id like it better in May (which would give us big events in April, May, June, July and August then the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup in September). but Id get really psyched if the Players Championship was held at the end of the season.
Ive never been a big fan of the Tour Championship as it seems that theres never much real drama value in it anyway for the casual golf fan.
So I have an idea. Since Commissioner Tim Finchem isnt going to get rid of it lets put The Players Championship the week before the Tour Championship.
As it currently stands, the winner of the Tour Championship is nothing more than The Winner of the Tour Championship. Rarely does it settle anything. The Vardon Trophy for scoring average? OK big deal. The money title? OK Ill give you that when it happens. And as nice a venue as East Lake might be, it doesnt get a whole lot of hype from golfs spin doctors.
But if you wait to contest The Players Championship until after the four majors are played, then the event could really end up determining the players champion. For the sake of my argument, lets say Vijay, Tiger, Ernie and Phil all had one major title that year. The Players Championship would then have a huge say in who walks off with Player of the Year honors.
And imagine the drama coming down the stretch at 16, 17 and 18 with that honor hanging in the balance. Would that be any good? Try any great! Wishful thinking that two or three of the four men would be in contention, I know.
But under the same scenario, should Fred Funk walk away the deserving winner, then the Tour Championship suddenly means more than usual.
Naysayers will be quick to point out that having The Players Championship in the fall would leave it right up against football. And I realize that. Nobody likes college football more than I do. Lets forget the ratings game for a minute and think about what would be best for PGA Tour golf.
I think the TPC at Sawgrass is enough of a draw. I think NBC could give up Notre Dame football for a week. And I think that with plenty on the line we might just be able to make it a go in the ratings.
I just know that the Tour Championship really lacks for drama. Its not just me who thinks that. We talk a lot about it. And with a chance to draft off The Players Championship the week before, youd have a great two-week finish to the PGA Tour season.
Just think - the Top 30 Money List would get some big talk during The Players and the TPC at Sawgrass (home of the PGA Tour) would get a chance to play home (potentially) to the tournament that really determines something.
Hey ' I might be way off here. Thats fine. I picked Mickelson to win last week and Jerry Kelly as my designated sleeper. Apparently, getting things right in golf arent that easy.
On another noteIm sticking with my January prediction on the Masters. Ernie Els wins it. Ive interviewed him several times about the love-affair he shares with the event. He watched it as a boy in South Africa and has always said it would mean the world to win it.
Last year was heartbreak hill for Ernie. This year hell show how much heart he has by bringing that little bit extra to the course on Sunday. More Masters talk from me in the coming days. For now, just give that revised Players Championship date a thought or two.
Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann