Archive for December 2010
Unlike the 2010 PGA Tour season that was dominated by Tiger-gate and rules scandals, 2011 is shaping up to be a banner year for golf. With Woods making his return to the West Coast and players like Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler leading an extremely-talented youth movement, it’s safe to say the sport has never looked better — on the course.
Off the course? That’s a different story. With the tour in a negotiation year with network execs and a number of tournaments still struggling to find sponsors, the business side of the sport is on rocky ground. Whether Tim Finchem wants to admit it or not there are some loose ends that need tying up in the coming months. Read the rest of this entry »
Golf’s silly season is officially over. When the final putt dropped on Sunday at the Shark Shootout (on a tape-delayed final round, no less), events like the Shootout, ADT Skills Challenge and 3-Tour Challenge were put aside and forgotten about for another year.
While the events at one time were given more press and interest from golf fans, they’ve recently been nothing more than to bide/waster time until the first tee shot In Hawaii. Always played at the end of the year, the only real events that deviates from the traditional 72-hole format during the season are the Ryder/Presidents Cups, and WGC Match Play, and even that has received criticism in past year – specifically for the extended 36-hole finale (side note: the final will be 18 holes next year).
It’s a shame. If you look back at the silly season events of the past, some actually made their mark on the sport. Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf was a match play event that pitted some of the game’s best players at world-class courses across the globe. And while the Modified Stableford event in Colorado was hard to understand at first, it was still an event that added a little more intrigue with the help of a go-for-broke scoring system. Read the rest of this entry »
If you didn’t know it already, 2010 was a banner year for Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell. Not only did he win the U.S. Open and come back from four shots down to defeat Tiger Woods at the Chevron World Challenge, he also holed the crucial putt to win the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor, capping off one of the greatest years ever by a European golfer.
But was the year just a dream? Read the rest of this entry »
GM’s return to the sponsorship picture at the end of last month signaled a potential return of automakers and financial institutions to the sponsorship picture. It’s no surprise that golf has been struggling to land title sponsors over the past year. With the departure of GM and other long-time sponsors from the sport, there were many people — myself included — that wondered if the sport could continue to have multi-million dollar purses with so many tournament looking for heavy financial hitter to keep the events afloat.
While Harbour Town — and other events — is still looking for a title sponsor, Doral (Cadillac) and the Bob Hope have landed title sponsors for 2011, giving golf hope that the sport may be well on its way to being out of the woods.
As the Associated Press reported, Franklin, Tenn., mortgage company Franklin America will be the new title sponsor for the event: Read the rest of this entry »
Ernie Els probably wanted a mulligan after his recent redesign of Wentworth’s West Course. After being asked by owner Richard Caring to come in and make some wholesale changes to the famed Parkland course, the South African was bombarded with negative comments at this year’s BMW PGA Championship. The course that had held the event since 1954 had, in some players eyes, been ruined with an updated course design that didn’t mesh with the historic layout.
It got so bad, in fact, that Paul Casey started pressing for historic courses, like Wenworth, to be treated in the same fashion as historic buildings, whereby future parties could only come in and maintain, rather than tear down the interior and redesign the place. Casey wasn’t the only one, as countless players at the event bashed Els’ redesign to the point that Els started defending himself during the tournament. You know it’s never good when your peers start criticizing your work to the media, as opposed to saying it to your face.
The hole that received the most criticism was the par 5 18th hole, a layout that many deemed a ‘fantasy hole’ after playing it for a couple of days. While Caring took the heat for the hole — he and Els has a heated debate about the layout, and Caring won out in the end — it still placed a negative light on Els. Instead of going away quietly after the debacle earlier this year, Els decided to come back and give the layout another redesign. Read the rest of this entry »
What’s a major championship worth to a golf career? That’s not a rhetorical question, I really think it’s something worth asking when a first-time major winner hoists the first major trophy of his career. Forget about the so-called other major championships (the Players comes to mind) and think about the four majors we all consider to be the creme de la creme of the golf world.
To some, winning a major championship can define your career, for good or bad. Think about some of the major winners from the past 10 years: Todd Hamilton, Shaun Micheel, Paul Lawrie, Michael Campbell; all of them won a single major championship during their career, before they promptly falling off the face of the earth. And not one of them has ever made it back to their major championship-winning form. It’s quite sad when you think of it that way.
You have to wonder if all of them would give up their one major title for a successful, long-lasting career. Graeme McDowell seemed like that sort of player until earlier this year. With only four European Tour titles to his name — his last one coming in 2008 — McDowell didn’t strike anyone as a player to be reckoned with; if anything, he seemed like the sort of player that was just hanging on, never getting too high or too low. Read the rest of this entry »