Tiger v Finchem and Nicklaus in the Corner
PGA TOUR vs. NASCAR
I believe that the game of Golf is at a crossroads. Today, the PGA Tour went head to head with the Daytona 500. Fortunately, with my remote control I was able to watch the duel between Lefty and Charles Howell III, while the Daytona leaders waited for a very interesting “overtime” of a Green, White, Checkered finish.
As I watched the NASCAR finish, while Lefty and Howell strolled to a death match on 18, the two lap finish of NASCAR had incredible drama with a finish of .020 of a second finish with the 7th place driver at restart boldly racing on the outside to the finish, and 20 cars crashing in their wake, one flaming across the finish line on his hood with his engine on fire to finish at 18th.
Across the TV River were Lefty and the III, shooting bad approaches, weak chips, and limp putts. Except for Howell, who drove home crucial key putts throughout the round, to kick Mickelson to the curb for his 2nd PGA win. Not quite the same drama is it?
In the meantime, back at the ranch, there is word from a UK writer that Tiger and Finchem, the third leading money winner with the Tour who has never teed it up ($4 million a year) are at odds over the new Fedex schedule and the fact Tiger could care less about the early season. Plus, he is not thrilled with where the Tour puts his Target Challenge the week before Christmas.
What is really at issue is this. When Tiger hit the field, the PGA Tour in their enduring arrogance thought, “Oh WOW, the Tour is hot now,” when it actuality it was “Oh wow, Tiger is hot now.” From 1996 to now, Tiger has enabled the PGA Tour and it’s sponsors to triple rates of pay out to the Tour, and advertisers when he is in play reap a great bonanza. But, only if Tiger is in the field. The truth is we don’t give a damn to watch if he isn’t, especially “non golfers.”
If you don’t believe me, catch the interview with Jack Nicklaus in the current issue of Golf Digest. He is adamant that the golf ball needs to be rolled back by at least 10%, to bring back into to play, the old beautiful classic courses that have been rendered obsolete for professional play by the incredible distance of today’s players.
But, Jack didn’t stop with his criticism of the equipment. He teed off on today’s players too. He notes that in the ol’ days, the game was 80% shot making and 20% power. He believes those numbers are now reversed, so the modern player just doesn’t have to have the game of yesteryear. “With so much money in the pro game, conservative mediocrity sort of prevails. But, I think, the top four or five guys (of my era) as a group, would have beaten the brains out of the top players of today.”
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top players of today, including Woods, wouldn't fare nearly as well if sent
back in a time machine.
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