Thursday, November 03, 2005

PGA Points Race Not Necesarily A Good Thing

Like Nascar, The PGA Tour is going to go very mainstream by establishing a end-of-year points race. Starting in the 2007 season, the Tour is hoping to keep golf viewers glued to their sets until well after the final major, the PGA Championship. It will be called the FedEx Cup (like Nascar’s Nextel Cup). The competitors will come from the top 144 money winners and the Tour Championship that just concluded last week will be the season’s final tournament to determine the big winner and the awarding of the FedEx Cup. The goal is to keep both player and viewer interest up past September.

Although that sounds very nice in principal, I would argue that the FedEx Cup will be stacked up against a formidable lineup of NBA basketball, NFL football, college football, and NHL hockey. In Minnesota where I’m located, we see a precipitous drop in golf right after Labor Day. Summer vacations end, golf leagues are over, kids are back in school, and we need to get ready for winter. Our minds are no longer on golf, but on other sports and activities.

In addition, for the players, they’ve already participated in a grueling ten month season and want to spend some time at home. It is my guess that top players like Phil, Tiger and VJ are likely to skip a lot of tournaments throughout the year if they are expected to keep playing into October and November. This will just dilute the number of top players competing in each tournament and reduce the number of head-to-head matchups of the stars. The PGA might gain some viewership at the end of the season, but I think the average viewership will suffer during the rest of the year, effectively reducing the value of this new schedule.


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