Why is the PGA Grand Slam of Golf in Bermuda a grind-it-out, stroke play snooze?
I caught about an hour of action yesterday on TNT of the PGA Grand Slam of Golf. The four players, Graeme McDowell, Ernie Els, Martin Kaymer and David Toms, had the competitive edge of a wet noodle.
Bermuda looks great, and so does the golf course, Port Royal Golf Course and the cliffside signature par-3 16th. The island is a spot I’ve never been, and the pictures certainly make you want to go and see how it compares to the Caribbean or Hawaii. Click here for Katharine Dyson’s article on Port Royal, following renovations leading up to the 2009 event.
But the PGA of America’s format for the event is an absolute snooze fest. These four compete in stroke play tournaments about 20-30 times a year, for a lot more money under a lot more pressure. The players look like they’re having a backyard whack-a-round, and rightly so. The winner takes home about $600,000 and last place still earns about $200,000.
The TV viewer ends up with a lot of downtime and two-foot putts for par, despite the event being tape-delayed and edited down. I had to put on a 5 o’clock pot of coffee after watching for awhile. At least Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf always edited down the action much tighter, but they had more time to edit, too.
The PGA Grand Slam of Golf is essentially a ceremonial competition, so it would be a perfect event for a different, dare I say experimental format, like a match play playoff or round robin. Why not get creative with it, trying something entirely new that no other televised tournament does?
I don’t understand the highest level of golf’s obsession with stroke play, unless they think the TV viewer can’t understand anything other than a number with a plus or minus next to a guy’s name. Almost every event on every tour is stroke play.
Even when golf comes back to the Olympics in 2016, for some absurd reason, it will be individual stroke play too. Why? It would be the perfect time for match play or a collegiate-style team event. You could even award an all-around medal for the golfer who does the best in match play, alternate shot and medal play.
Stroke play obsession, in my opinion, is a big reason why weekend golf takes a long time and can be too frustrating for lower level players, and anything done to educate players about other games, where an opening hole “snowman” essentially eliminates the chance to have a good round, can only help grow golf in the U.S. in the long run.
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