If you had a chance to catch any of the Presidents Cup action this past weekend at Muirfield Village Golf Club, the one thing that was constant, were the crowds. This should be an indication to the power brokers around golf that team match-play events will draw fans.
Even with poor weather conditions, and streakers, record crowds graced the historical venue in Dublin, Ohio to watch golfers from different countries go Mono e Mono. It begs the question, why don’t we have more of these types of contests?
In this country, we all love a good rivalry. Ohio State vs Michigan, Auburn/Alabama, and Yankees/Red Sox. That’s what makes sports what it is in the world.
Young golfers start their career playing match-play events in high school, and that format follows them to college. Then when they get ready to turn pro, the format changes to stroke play.
Almost every foreign PGA touring professional spent time in the US, playing collegiate golf in a match-play format.
Don’t get me wrong here, I don’t think we should abandon the status quo all together, but the 2013-2014 season, which used to be called the Fall Series, starts this week, and the two things it won’t have is a strong field, or much interest from anyone other than die-hard golf fans.
Why not play more match-play events?
The reason that the Presidents Cup can’t compete with the Ryder Cup is the inability of the International team to be competitive. They are not competitive because they don’t play enough golf in this format as a team.
Why not have more events where the South Africans play the Americans, the Australians play the Euro’s, and the Asians play the South Africans? This would give countries, and/or continents, a place to build teams that could compete on a world stage like the Presidents Cup.
How many times have you tuned into a tournament, hoping to see a Tiger Woods-Rory McIlroy, or Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson match-up, and were only disappointed because either one, or both of the players you wanted to see play, wasn’t playing well? One or both didn’t make the cut, and you were never able to see the Jack Nicklaus-Lee Trevino finish you were expecting.
In team events, if your guy isn’t playing well, maybe his teammates can pick him up. The entire experience doesn’t rely on one person playing well all of the time. Let’s face it, everyone has a bad day, or are forced to play a golf course that doesn’t fit their eye.
The WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship is a tournament that is on the right track, but needs some adjustments. The big problem with this event is, it’s played at the wrong time of the year, at the wrong place. The other problem is, they need to figure out a way to keep the super stars that are not playing well, around for the entire event.
I propose to you that on Sunday at Dove Mountain this year, most of the marquee players were sitting in Palm Beach sipping rum runners while Matt Kuchar and Hunter Mahan battled the forty mile per hour wind, and each other for the title. The only matches were the title group, and the consolation group on the course. That’s not Must-See TV.
I just think Professional Golf would do better to add more Match-Play events to the schedule. I believe they would offer more excitement to weeks where there is no way golf can compete with college Football, the NFL, or the Major League Baseball playoffs.
The crowds at Muirfield Village this past weekend proves that when you pit countries, or schools, or continents against each other, they will come……and watch!
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