Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Best Tour in the World, and 2nd Place

Does everyone agree with the conclusion that the best Tour in the world is the PGA Tour? It's the US PGA Tour for the Euro readers, of course. Grant Boone brings up the subject in his Grant Me This column on, which is quirky enough each week to keep me reading.

Reavie's win revisits the recent debate over which is the second-best Tour in the world. Some of the Nationwide Tour's American alumni are on record declaring their alma mater to be number two in the queue. When the question was posed in the press conference following Europe's second straight Ryder Cup rout in 2006 and third win in a row overall, Englishman Luke Donald needed clarification as to what the reporter meant when he asked which tour was second best:

"You mean after Europe?"

Ha! Now that's funny no matter where you're from. At least I think he was kidding. Europe's dominance in the Ryder Cup proves one thing for sure: They're better than us at the Ryder Cup. But there should be no debate over tour supremacy. Here it is, once and for all:

1. PGA Tour
T2. Every Other Tour

Not only do the Euros know it, it's one of the reasons they're so motivated to keep slapping "Kick Me" signs on American kids' backs every two years. The Ryder Cup in reality has been evenly matched for nearly 20 years, but the U.S. has been the biennial favorite of the mainstream media, primarily because the Tour based here is superior.

Winning the Cup, preferably handily, is one small way the Empire (British and otherwise) can strike back at the courtesy cars and the billion-dollar TV contracts and air-conditioned hotel rooms and everything associated with the PGA Tour and America, for that matter, going back to the Tea Party.

Here's an easy way to tell the PGA Tour is in a league of its own: Check how many of their guys have come over here versus the number of ours who've gone that way. Here's another: Name one great international player of the last 50 years who didn't win on U.S. soil. The PGA Tour has always played for the most money and had the best-run tour, thereby attracting the best players. And if you want to be considered among the game's greatest, you have to beat the best.

Just as I read that last paragraph, I knew he would mention Monty. How could you not? So I skipped quoting that for you.

I think that Boone is on track with his Nationwide success stories. Over 225 wins on the PGA Tour have been by alums of the Hogan/Nike/'Wide Tour over the ages. But that stat could be misleading. Does that win tally tell you something about the overwhelming Tour ready talent on the Nationwide circuit? Or does that tell you that the quality of play on the PGA Tour has slipped down a notch such that success for Nationwide alums is easier? I tend to believe the first school, but it's worth throwing out there.

The European Tour is pretty strong these days. They, arguably, have a set of young players that could easily rival the United States' under 30 set - Martin Kaymer, Ross Fisher, Pablo Martin, Rory McIllroy, etc. That was not particularly true just a few years ago.

The Tour boasts membership from some of the game's all time great players - Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Paddy Harrington (just earned that title two weeks ago), and others. It is the home of great events like the BMW PGA Championship (and embarrassing events like the Russian Open).

I'm not ready to declare the war for second best Tour settled yet. A lot of things go in the favor of the Nationwide Tour, but there are still others that seem to propel Europe ahead.

And then you have the discussion of where the LPGA Tour fits in this...

No comments: