From the Rough

Golf without discretion

Do best ball, alternate shot formats have a place on the PGA Tour schedule?

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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.

While scrambles and best ball are all the rage at charity events, they’ve never had a place on the tour schedule. But given the sheer interest in the format from weekend golfers, would Tim Finchem ever consider adding one to the tour schedule?

The answer from Finchem would probably be ‘no.’ But if he ever did, consider the kind of interest the tour could get. Imagine doing a best ball event where FedEx Cup points and official money were on the line. One would assume an event like that could draw better ratings than a middle-of-the-road tour stop.

And the chances of landing a sponsor would probably go up as well. It’s all hypothetical at this point, but it’s definitely something tour brass should consider in the future. The meetings with network execs are coming up soon, you know.

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Written by Jonathan Wall

12/13/2010 at 12:48 pm

Posted in PGA Tour

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