Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Let's Point Some Fingers at the Euro Tour

I was reading over at in a notes column without byline and it wonders if Tiger will actively recruit to get players to come to the National next year. Personally, I think he'll have no problem. But consider this:

Players typically rank quality of the golf course and the spot on the calendar as their top reasons for playing, so the lack of so many top-20 players -- injuries aside -- at his tournament last week was surprising. Congressional is as good as any track in golf. The setup was close to perfect, with the rough deep enough to present problems, yet not so thick that players couldn't try to reach the green.

One problem might have been perception. Europe had 14 players among the top 50 in the world last week, none at Congressional. Most were at the European Open, with the British Open two weeks away. And this being a Ryder Cup year, some need to get in their minimum 11 tournaments for membership purposes.

I like Congo, even with Rees Jones botching it for the Open 11 years ago. Consider, though, that the European Tour is a lot more liberal in changing their schedule than the PGA Tour. Events can move weeks or a month at a time on the Euro Tour schedule because there is generally a lack of tradition about dates of an event. People like me don't go nuts when the French Open changes dates, but I did go nuts when the PGA Tour eradicated the Texas Swing. (It's supposedly coming back, which will be awesome.)

George O'Grady seems to have been trying to schedule pertinent Euro Tour events against modestly high level PGA Tour events. Could he have done the same thing on purpose again in an attempt to lure Euros to play in the Euro Open and make Woods' event look less in a Ryder Cup year? Probably not, but it is fun to speculate.

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