Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Change the Mercedes Format?

Since Tiger and Phil aren't playing again, and a bunch of big names failed to win on the PGA Tour - hence not qualifying, there is a lot of chatter in the press about doing something to liven up the Mercedes Benz Championship.

In Steve Elling's piece, there's talk of inviting winners from the past two seasons to play in the event. That wouldn't help Ernie Els or Sergio Garcia, but it would get some others into the event and raise the field size.

How about not playing it in Hawaii since there is sparse attendance and the Plantation Course is absurdly hilly? Why not try it at Harding Park?

We could always make this a gimmick tournament like the ADT Championship. After all, no one really cares about the winners of limited field events unless they are the Tour Championship or a major championship. Make things more interesting with a winner take all, $3 million prize to the champion. And, just to make everyone happy, the players get $100,000 just for coming.

The real reason for all of these suggestions, though, is because Tiger and Phil have made this event irrelevant on any scale because they have opted out of the event for several years. Until there is a way to compel them to play (and there seemingly isn't), then this season opener for the Tour will struggle.

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