Why, you ask? Because many of the participants constitute a roll call of movers and shakers in the business world. And as golf professionals, we get the honor of their attention for a week.
If tour players think Sundays are the most important day of the week in each event, theyre being shortsighted. Because the most important day on tour is Wednesday, the pro-am day. And at the AT&T, Wednesday becomes Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and sometimes Sunday.
Whether the pros want to admit or believe it, they better accept the fact that hospitality and fellowship with successful, golf-loving amateurs is huge a part of the business of the PGA Tour.
I understand not everyone can have a personality of a Mark O'Meara, or a Chi Chi Rodriguez, but some guys seem to totally tune their partners out.
And nothing pains me more than to hear a good supporter of our tour tell me at a cocktail party, I was paired with so-and-so, and was really looking forward to it, and then the guy didn't say two words to us all day.
In my book that is a mortal sin for a touring pro and it is happening more and more often.
At the AT&T it is wise to check your partner's bio closer than your sand saves percentage, because he could be handing you your first victory check that Sunday, or maybe later in the year. We should never forget that its the corporate world that makes the PGA Tour the huge jackpot it is today.
Maybe we should introduce new statistical categories for that week. Like total handshakes, smiles in regulation, and the all-around schmooze. We should look at the opportunity to hang with these big shots of the business world as an investment in the future of our tour.
Sometimes I worry we take all of this for granted because life is so good for so many of us on tour. But if we don't remember how our bread is buttered, we might be eating bone-dry toast sooner than we think.
As steadily and solidly as the tour has grown, it can unravel even faster. Let a few CEOs have a bad experience or two at a tour event, and our credibility can drop faster than the price of Enron stock!
We must never, ever, turn our back on our corporate partners, on or off the course.
At least thats my take.