The professional world of golf has had a pretty exciting year in 2018 with exciting major championships, the comeback of Tiger Woods, the development of a new crop of exciting young players such as Jordan Speith, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas and the prospect of a newly found era of sportsmanship that should greet the Ryder Cup in September not to mention the Fed Ex Championships. Pretty solid stuff except for the ongoing participation of Fox Sports in broadcasting USGA championships.
Now we’re going to the depths of which I never thought the world of golf would sink to. What is being labelled as a “Fall Feast for Fans” (New York Times, 8/23/18), Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelsen will square off in an 18 hole mano a mano match play event for a take all purse of $9M during Thanksgiving weekend. The PGA Tour confirmed the rumor that this event will actually take place in Las Vegas. The Tour also stated that the event will be carried on pay-per-view and on-demand television services.
“Fall Feast”?–How about Post-Thanksgiving Indigestion? This is absolutely the worst idea I could ever have imagined as the PGA Tour descends to the depths of professional wresting, boxing and mixed martial arts. How about a cage fight after the match? I’m very disappointed that the PGA would stoop to this level. A number of years ago there were televised golf match play events sponsored by Shell Oil Company and were called “Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf.” Those matches were played to promote the game and I believe were not played for money and, if they were, the amounts involved were nominal at best. They were very simple and the commentary was insipid but it was my first introduction to the game of golf on black and white television.
I can only hope that this event is a catastrophic ratings failure. Go spend $39.95 on a new box of Titleist balls. Of course, I’ll probably be in the minority as the these so called “rivals’ tee it up at Shadow Creek. Joe Buck will probably be doing the commentary with his vapid set of commentators. I’d probably might have a different opinion if they were playing a $5 nassau on national television or contributing the $9M to charity. I still would not pay a cent to watch it on pay-per-view.