Monday, August 17, 2009

2009 PGA Championship and Perspective on Men's Majors

I watched the final round of the 2009 PGA, my least favorite major. I can tell you it was great for golf. Golf for us, not for the pampered professionals. Part of that is that golf can come back to the rank and file golfer around whom the game is truly built, not the professional circus that is the men's US PGA Tour which is irrelevant to nearly all of us. That is an entertainment venue, a product if you will - one that harms the game we love much more than it helps it. The 2009 PGA Championship, the "Major" that is least relevant, bit back at professional golf and Tiger's mystique is broken. I have long been of the opinion that Tiger Woods is bad for golf and especially the industry of Tiger Woods the product.

As for the majors, I've written about them before, they've become a bit too Americo-centric, I think. Now that they're over:

I have long wanted to see the PGA dumped for the Australian Open championship as the fourth Major. The cash-cow Championship Tour has FIVE, so there's no reason to have four (One year Tiger'd liked to have had only three, I suppose). There could be three, four, five, six? World Championships? Tim Finchem's baby lifted from Greg Norman? Does anyone except the fans screaming for pitch outs to "go in the hole?" What has Tiger wrought with all the "sports fans" now into golf? Milk 'em, that's what Tim said.

I mean now seriously, who here really likes to play golf in the USA in August? 80% of the time no one remembers who won the damned thing because, I don't know - we're all off at the beach to finish the summer? This year we should, but will it be because Tiger lost? Personally I think Y.E. won and Tiger lost.

Why should three majors be played in the USA? If not the OZ Open, a good rotating Euro Event? A Seve Invitational a la Bobby Jones Masters?? I say: Let's drop the US PGA and add OZ. There should never, ever be any consideration that the Players should be the Fifth or Tenth Major, it's as trumped-up as a sales party. Deanne Beman's baby as I remember.

Let's consider them:

Masters -sure, nice that it's spring, but it's bad for Supers and members expectations at ramk and file courses. Gold depends more on the rank and file player far more than the professional. All the sucking up around ANGC with its Apartheid history, I don't really know how they've gotten the pass that they have. Honestly, I get really really tired of seeing the same golf course year in and year out. but ... Worth Keeping

USGA Open - It used to be a great tournament now it's a joke with either Tiger or a one-off winning, with the uni-dimensional sets-up. The attempts at mixing it up by making driveable, ill-designed for the purpose holes is a very small start, so maybe it will revive. Honestly, with the evolution of the modern game, it needs to start foing only to modern courses. Worth Keeping, but needs serious work as it has become a chore to watch.

THE Open Championship - worth keeping, nothing to say about why. If you need help understanding why and you have read to this point, please e-mail me.

US PGA - Somebody defend it as amajor, I got nothin'. I'll say lose it.

Majors are all to a degree artificial. My thought is that they ought to represent the world of golf. Therefore the Opens remain.

Certainly, I expect no one to change his opinion, but I personally feel strongly about links, parkland, sandbelt all being varied tests. In fact the Oz open would add a couch (Bermuda) test to the majors as well giving tremendous diversity. I certainly hope that none of the Tiger supporters who think Tiger lost because of budding poa annua greens. Sorry, can't buy that.

Some support the PGA Championship because it might be considered the major for club professionals. Never forget that the PGA Championship is short for The PGA Championship of AMERICA so why just America? One minor bit about the PGA of AMERICA professionals qualifying - all they have to do is beat each other and there are guaranteed spots a la Michelle Wie's failed attempts to qualify for the men's events. Pretty tainted, not exactly like qualifying for either Open. So
-It's only American PGA - what about the rest of the world?
-20 Club Pros - about as many Amateurs make the USGA Open Cut, I'm a bit disturbed by the American Bias

I am also concerned about the overall American bias for professional golf in general. After all America created excluding clubs as the norm, raised the cost to keep the riff-raff out, raised to an unattainable level agronomic expectations, let's not even start on slow play. An Asian Major Championship has been a long time coming.

CBS told us this last week that 97 Of the top 100 world ranking was in the field. What about the 20 spots the club pros took from the next 30 on the list who might have wanted to play? Certainly, club pros like Albus, for example have in the past played for a fair amount of their own money fleecing some wealthy bored members, good on 'em. If 2 of the 20 club pros were in the top 25 or better yet top 10-15 and *every year*, then it would be a sustainable argument to keep them. As it is, it's just a payday for a few who play their best, which statistics will tell us will happen. Statistical analysis will also tell us that 20 of the top 100 in the world will make fools of themselves and make way for the club pros, yet all 20 don't make it to the position where they can play the weekend. Many club pros were once tour pros or tried to be and washed out. Inclusion of them is an anachronism from the days that even Hogan and Nelson had to hold a club job to make ends meet. Thank Palmer for putting an end to that.

I really love golf, ever since being introduced to it when Arnold Palmer was Tiger Woods. Classic architectural features, travel, the enjoyment of actually playing, (forget practice!) these are wonderful aspects that professionals competing have no effect on whatsoever. Don't forget Gin & Tonic, either and Whisky for the cold days, too.

I love the game of golf but professional golf is becoming a very small, further diminishing part of it for me.

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