The PGA Tour’s wrap-around season is great for players’ wallets, but is it great for fans, asks WADE PRETORIUS.
Did you know that the 2016-17 season was over? That the Safeway Open, which followed just days after the Presidents Cup was the start of a new year? A new race to the $10-million FedExCup prize money and spots on American and European Ryder Cup teams.
It’s a bit ridiculous really, especially considering Rory McIlroy won’t be playing again this year. Is Jordan Spieth in Malaysia for the co-sanctioned CIMB Classic this week? No, he’s hosting his own #SpiethShootout for his foundation away from the extreme pressures of tournament play.
— Jordan Spieth (@JordanSpieth) October 9, 2017
Where were Brooks Koepka and the world No 1 Dustin Johnson yesterday? On stand-up paddle boards, taking a break after a long year.
— Dustin Johnson (@DJohnsonPGA) October 11, 2017
And fans are feeling the extent of a long year too. The crowds weren’t out in their masses for the Safeway Classic – speaking of which, who won last year’s event? Thought so. And I bet you don’t know who he beat by a single stroke? Got you again. Patton Kizzire.
The European Tour’s season – not a wrap-around one – is still on the go, with the Italian Open, now a Rolex Series event, which keeps the players interested as they jostle for the abundant riches and a place at the season’s ending DP World Tour Championship. After the FedExCup, what’s keeping the big guns interested from October through to December?
It makes sense to have a clear start and a finish line. One year, one season. Give fans a chance to catch their breath, give writers and critics time to hype up the new year and the new contenders and make their bold predictions.
An off-season where players change equipment or commit to one of the tours – not like football’s transfer window – would add intrigue. Allow Rory, Dustin and Jordan time off, without players getting an advantage on them for crucial qualifying points in team events. Give fans a chance to wait and see what the players have been working on in the ‘post-season’, and make them want to get out and walk outside the ropes when they finally return.
An ‘enforced break’ will also allow players to turn down invites, without any guilt of having to attend tournaments around the world. I doubt Justin Thomas really, really oh so badly wanted to fly 28+ hours to Kuala Lumpur this week. Yeah sure, I know they make millions and get looked after like royalty, but do you want the world’s best to play through injuries and face the prospect of burnout? I know Danny Willett’s answer.
Hell, a break might even allow pros to spend time at home, if they even know where that is, after 9-10 months of travelling the globe.
Wouldn’t you rather see the best play five weeks in a row during Majors than taking breaks because they play basically all year round?
It’s great in these economic times that events are attracting big money sponsorships and big name players to their fields, and while the money is there wrap-around seasons will always be in play.
For me? Wake me up in January when the PGA Tour starts in earnest for the year. For now, I’m glued to what the European Tour has to offer.