Punch Shot: Should Tour play more global events?

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 29, 2014, 1:30 pm

The PGA Tour is playing in Malaysia, China and Mexico over the next three weeks. Should it stray more often from the U.S.? GolfChannel.com writers weigh in on whether or not the Tour should play more international events.


It’s a prototypical double-edged sword, this business of questioning whether the PGA Tour should have more international events.

On the one hand, the suits in Camp Ponte Vedra should embrace the global expansion that has seen more NFL, NBA and MLB games contested abroad in recent years. On the other, one of the Tour’s jobs is to provide a worthy schedule for its constituency  and turning that schedule into a globetrotting exhibition that only a frequent flier like Gary Player could love wouldn’t exactly accomplish that goal.

While it sounds like a terrific idea on paper  or in a boardroom  the act of bringing more tourneys worldwide wouldn’t be met with open arms by the players. Just check out this week’s CIMB Classic field, a no-cut, guaranteed-money affair which went low enough on the alternate list that the likes of Nicholas Thompson, Roberto Castro and Will Wilcox have earned spots, not to mention numerous players from smaller circuits around the world.

If the PGA Tour could be guaranteed more starts from more top players at these events, I’d be all for it. Hey, it works for the LPGA. But having players travel the globe only to hold tournaments in places like Malaysia with fields that resemble the John Deere Classic seems counterproductive to the overall message.


It is a welcome period for the PGA Tour, three weeks, three tournaments played outside the confines of the Lower 48. It’s also a far too rare occurrence.

The next two weeks in Asia will showcase the Tour’s talent, but will also cast a spotlight on the circuit’s inability, or unwillingness, to take the circus on the road.

Outside of this Asia swing, and the occasional cameo at the Open Championship and to Canada or Mexico, the Tour has become far too insular for the modern world. It’s time for the circuit to travel and what better place to start than the four World Golf Championships events.

Other than next week’s WGC-HSBC Champions in China, the three “world” events are played at such far-flung places as Miami, Akron, Ohio, and San Francisco.

The buzzword in golf has long been growth – it is, after all, why the game returned to the Olympics in 2016 – and what better way to spark interest in developing markets than to ship the WGC-Match Play to Buenos Aires or Kuala Lumpur?

There was even talk last year of possibly sending the PGA Championship overseas, wherever that may be. What is certain, there are plenty of opportunities around the globe for the Tour to choose from.


Every golf fan should want to see an additional event or two internationally during the heart of the PGA Tour schedule, but it’s easy to see why the Tour stays home from mid-January to late October.

It’s not the simplest fix, logistically.

Putting the “world” back in three of the World Golf Championships  and thus moving one of the premier events somewhere other than the continental U.S. – is the easiest to justify, but even that shift comes with its share of headaches.

The WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral is in the midst of the Florida swing. The WGC-Match Play, now scheduled for the final weekend in April, is the week before The Players Championship, the Tour’s flagship event. And the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational is always the week before the PGA Championship. Moving any of those events would cause a trickle-down effect and affect the participation in either the WGC event or the tournaments surrounding it. In other words, it’s not worth it. 


The idea of taking more PGA Tour events overseas sounds appealing, but, unfortunately, it’s not practical. Remember what happened when the Tour took its Match Play Championship to Metropolitan Golf Club in Melbourne, Australia, at the start of the 2001 season? The game’s biggest stars didn’t go. Six of the top seven players in the world stayed home, including world No. 1 Tiger Woods, No. 3 David Duval and No. 4 Phil Mickelson.

Seeing iconic international venues appeals, but seeing the game’s biggest stars play together appeals more. Unless it’s to play in a major championship, or for a large appearance fee, it’s unlikely the PGA Tour will induce the lion’s share of its stars to travel overseas for a one-off event. An occasional PGA Championship overseas would work. Something in Europe before a British Open probably works, too, but it would feel like a hostile invasion of European Tour territory. Really, so many of Europe’s top stars are already living in South Florida. The World Golf Championship name may seem a misnomer with all but one of those events being played in the United States, but all the world’s stars are showing up for them when they are here. They work best in the U.S.


The PGA Tour probably doesn't need to add many more international events - the 10,000-mile commute that players faced this week from Georgia to Malaysia shows that a global schedule certainly has its drawbacks. But the Tour still should do a better job of diversifying its international outposts.

I'm sure Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club, host of this week's CIMB Classic, is a fine course. But it doesn't stack up well against many courses in Australia, and certainly at least a few in South Africa. Just because the Tour is international doesn't mean it's hitting the right venues, or markets.

Next week's WGC-HSBC Champions is the lone WGC event played outside the U.S., a fact that the Tour would be well-served to rectify. At least two of those four events should require a passport, ideally with a rotation of venues across several countries. Likewise, the PGA Championship appears poised to consider an international venue at some point in the near future, a choice that would boost the game.

There are plenty of world-class venues in top-notch travel destinations outside the U.S. The Tour doesn't have to find them all, but adding one or two to the schedule each year would be a step in the right direction as golf continues to become an increasingly global affair.

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Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

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Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

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Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

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Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

“There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

“To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

“To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.