Tuesday, February 19, 2008

It's Time to Bash the WGCs...

Tom Abbott, over at the Golf Channel, penned a few paragraphs about a topic I have been harping on for over 3 years now - the myth of the World Golf Championships and how they are a spectacular failure. Since I don't feel like linking to my own old stuff, here's some of his current stuff:

The series of three tournaments is 10 years old now and according to its slogan is “celebrating 10 years of global competition”. Global? Alright, in the past the tournaments have gone global, visiting Australia, Ireland, Spain and England in addition to the United States, but now all three are played on U.S. soil. The events come under the banner of the International Federation of Tours, of which the Asian, Australasian, Sunshine and European tours are all part.

Why aren’t we working towards building relationships with sponsors to move these existing events around the globe? As a golf fan I’m disappointed.

I am also disappointed in the fact that only one of these events has a truly unique identity. Although it was derived from the fledgling Anderson Consulting Matchplay, I believe the WGC-Accenture Match Play is the only WGC that stands out on its own. The WGC-CA Championship and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational were existing events (Doral and the NEC World Series of Golf).

Both were solid events in themselves; they didn’t need WGC attached to their titles. In fact, I think both have lost some of their identity because of that addition. You could argue that having the WGC solidifies their place on the schedule, but what’s the point of creating this global series when a) you don’t play globally and b) two-thirds of your events are old events re-hashed.
I thought I would just put this out there as a refresher. On second thought, I found my 2006 column entitled "Colonizing the World (Golf Championships)." May as well quote some of the similarities:
It is under these conditions that PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem has decided to eliminate the "world" part of the World Golf Championships. In the new contract period, all of the World Golf Championships events are being held in the United States. It did not take very long for the domestic press to notice. And, apparently, the rest of the world has taken notice and they are not happy about it.

To be fair, US courses have dominated as host sites for the World Golf Championships over the years. Only 10 of 28 WGC events have been held outside of the United States - and most of those have been of the poorly attended World Cup. But, at least the WGC had one token event in each cycle that was held outside of the United States. Sure, the WGC has never been truly global, but there was an occasional attempt made to placate the global golfing community.

Now, it seems like the PGA Tour has decided to abandon the strategy of appeasement and simply convert the WGC events into regular Tour invitational events that serve as monthly anchors on the schedule. For the US, this is not such a bad thing. It actually provides a full schedule with one special tournament per month on the docket. But, is having that worth angering the international community?

2 comments:

Andy Brown said...

I think to spread the game globally you need to take these tournaments to the different parts of the world and more importantly ensure that the big players are willing to travel. There is no point in holding these tournaments in other parts of the globe without 9 0f the top 10 golfers showing up. I believe if these guys want to showcase these three events as a different event on the golfing calendar, one that attracts the cream of the professionals and also stands out then they should rehash the tournament format. The Accenture match play is a real eye catcher because it is so different from the usual grind and I am sure it offers a different challenge to the players, most of whom are multiple tournament winners around the world.

For the Bridgestone invitational I think the very first change that they should make is to debar Tiger Woods from playing. He just does not give the field a chance in that event. But then if that were the criteria then we will find Tiger spending most of the time barred from most events!

The game is spreading quickly to different parts of the world and it is about time that these guys chose to take the World Golf Championship on a world tour.

Keithqpni said...

I think to spread the game globally you need to take these tournaments to the different parts of the world and more importantly ensure that the big players are willing to travel. There is no point in holding these tournaments in other parts of the globe without 9 0f the top 10 golfers showing up. I believe if these guys want to showcase these three events as a different event on the golfing calendar, one that attracts the cream of the professionals and also stands out then they should rehash the tournament format. The Accenture match play is a real eye catcher because it is so different from the usual grind and I am sure it offers a different challenge to the players, most of whom are multiple tournament winners around the world. For the Bridgestone invitational I think the very first change that they should make is to debar Tiger Woods from playing. He just does not give the field a chance in that event. But then if that were the criteria then we will find Tiger spending most of the time barred from most events! The game is spreading quickly to different parts of the world and it is about time that these guys chose to take the World Golf Championship on a world tour.