Sunday, February 12, 2006

Chubby's comments don't bode well for CanOpen

Fascinating story in the Scotsman this morning. The piece, written by John Higgan, is an interview with Andrew 'Chubby' Chandler, a former tour pro turned manager. He dominates the UK scene, working with players like Darren Clarke, Lee Westwood, and more recently, Ernie Els.

The wide ranging interview is very much worth reading for Chandler's candor about a variety of subjects. But this is what he had to say when asked about the new PGA Tour schedule for 2007:

"Besides, I'm not certain the new American schedule is going to work perfectly. For example, what will happen after the Open is that there will be a regular PGA Tour event, then the Bridgestone WGC event, then the USPGA, then another regular
week, then three play-off events, then a season-ender. If you play all of those and a warm-up event for the Open, you've been out there nine weeks out of 11 right at the top level. The leading guys are not going to want to do that."

Chandler's comments seem to reflect the thoughts that most players will skip the Canadian Open, the event that immediately follows the British Open. As he says, no one is likely to play "nine weeks out of 11." Doesn't look good for the fine folks at the RCGA. Not only are they months behind on announcing a new sponsor, but their date on the Tour schedule hasn't improved.

One player not likely to appear in Canada any time soon (remember when Els used to occasionally play at the Abbey?), is the Big Easy. But Chandler acknowledges Ernie likes to pound a few back every now and then.

If you look at Ernie, he mirrors a lot of what we as a company are all about. He likes a beer and he socialises and he mucks in. He's been great at all of that, as has his wife. He's been to Manchester to watch the football with us. And the cricket. There's a massive respect between Ernie and (cricket star) Freddie Flintoff. They've met a few times but only briefly. Beer for beer I'm not sure who would win but it would be a three-day game. They both have their certain strengths in that area. So they'll get on fine. It's the ones around the edges - like me - who
will suffer. So Ernie was a challenge more than a gamble. But we treat him just the same as everyone else. I am brutal with him. I am constantly asking, 'Would Tiger do this, or would Tiger do that?' If you want to be number one in the world - and Ernie does - you have to prepare properly and sometimes that means saying 'no' to other opportunities.

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