Thursday, November 03, 2005

New PGA Tour sched -- boom or bust?

The PGA Tour's new schedule, which has been discussed for months, finally was released yesterday and the typical discussion and columizing has hit the Internet.

Some suspect the PGA Tour's change won't have much of an impact on its $850-million TV deal. And I'm struck by the fact the same tour events that are outside of the new FedEx points scheme are now more out of the loop than ever. Apparently Bill Paul, tournament director of the Canadian Open, feels the new setup will benefit the tournament, but I doubt you're going to see a far greater number of Top 10 players at Hamilton next year. Interestingly, the Canadian Open stays put next year, but appears poised to be slotted in the week after the British Open in 2007 in July. Is that better? It at least will allow the RCGA to move the tournament around to other parts of the country. But is that likely to happen? The organization is already roped into holding a series of events at its new course in Montreal, it is at Hamilton next year and at Angus Glen the year after and then to Montreal. It still has to play one more event at a Clublink owned course by 2010. That means there won't be a Canadian Open in Western or Eastern Canada until 2009, at the earliest.

The reality is that Finchem can try to create a buzz around his new FedEx season ending, but those are just tournaments, not majors. Will Tiger Woods play after the PGA Championship? I doubt it.

If you're interested in reading more, SI has a strong take on the TV ratings; the Times debates the same thing; and Golfobserver.com asks some important questions about the TV loses attributed to the last TV deal.

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