Friday, August 1, 2008

Classic Club Out, Makes Case for 1 in 4 Rule on PGA Tour

Ok, so none of the pros liked the Classic Club as a part of the three headed beast that is the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic. The clamoring got so bad that the tournament had to respond and remove Classic Club from the rotation for the tournament for 2009.

[R]emember this: The pros are the commodity on the PGA Tour. Without the players, a tournament has nothing to promote, no reason for fans to buy tickets, no reason for people to tune in.

And that's why, painful and unfair as it might be, the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic had to move off Classic Club.

Know this about Classic Club. It's a very good golf course. From tee to green, the course flows well, challenges golfers with hills and lakes and bunkers and has features like pine straw that aren't duplicated on any course in the desert.

(I don't think Classic Club is a very good golf course, but I'm a design snob.)

And on a majority of days, there is either no wind or just a typical desert breeze. But when it is windy at Classic Club, it's very windy. Pros at the 2008 Hope were saying if you heard a forecast for wind in the desert, you could just add 10 mph to it at Classic Club.

And pros hate wind. It's the one variable in golf they can't control. The wind can get strong one minute, stop the next, swirl the next. The wind can take a well-struck shot and blow it over a green or into a bunker or a lake.

And with so many $5 million and $6 million tournaments on tour, it becomes easier and easier for a pro to just skip an event for no reason better than that one of the courses tends to be windy.

The folks at the Hope tournament learned that lesson. And they knew pretty quickly that they couldn't sacrifice their golf tournament for a single course, even if they happen to own that one course. A bitter pill, but it had to be swallowed.

Larry Bohannan in the Desert Sun says that it was necessary for the event to survive. Given that George Lopez is out, Arnie is in (for one year), and the course change, he may be right.

Jack Nicklaus' Private Course at PGA West will replace Classic Club.

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