Out with the PGA and LPGA: Bring on golf's silly season
Man, you’ve got to be a hard-core golf fan to absorb the last few events of the Fall Finish. It’s tough to watch guys you never heard of sweating it out trying to secure their card for next year. I don’t like grinding in my own game, much less watching someone else do it, unless it’s the U.S. or British Open.
So bring on the events I really look forward to in late fall, like the Wendy’s 3-Tour Challenge, the LG Skins Game or the Del Webb Father/Son Challenge, for example. The PGA Tour likes to call them “Challenge Events,” to make them sound more serious. I just think they should call them “Reward-for-Making-a-Name-for-Yourself-in-Golf Events.” What could be more fun? What an easy payday.
The Wendy’s 3-Tour Challenge, which will be televised Dec. 13-14 on ABC, has a new partner, Harrah’s, and venue, Rio Secco Golf Club in Henderson. This year it’s the LPGA trio of Natalie Gulbis, Helen Alfredsson and Cristie Kerr; the Champions Tour team of Fred Funk, Nick Price and Jay Haas; and Stewart Cink, Kenny Perry and Rocco Mediate of the PGA Tour. Which tour will reign supreme? Does it matter? (Last year, the LPGA won, by the way.) Should be fun whoever wins.
And who will ever forget Fred Funk donning a flowered skirt after being outdriven by Annika Sorenstam at the 2005 Skins Game? Now that’s good television. It would be even better if they had to put up their own money like we do. Conducted at the Celebrity Course at Indian Wells (Calif.), it will feature Mediate, Stephen Ames, K.J. Choi and Phil Mickelson. ABC televises on Thanksgiving weekend.
And then there’s the Father/Son challenge, conducted at ChampionsGate outside of Orlando, Fla., televised live on NBC Dec. 6-7. It’s kind of fun to see how far the apples fell off the trees. To this day, I still have the putter that Jerry Pate used in the 2005 event with his son, Wesley. He gave it to me after watching me gag on the greens a couple years ago during a round I played with him near his home in Pensacola, Fla. It didn’t help my putting, but I’ll never sell it.
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Thank goodness the Euro Tour is picking up some of the slack!