J.B. Holmes is right: "Dumbest thing I've ever heard."
The PGA Tour's radical changes to its schedule and Tour structure are being done for one thing and one thing only.
It seems corporate America has finally figured out that the minors are just that, the minors. They've also realized that we are being forced to pay close to, if not full price, for regular Tour events in the fall, which few of the top players want to play in and few fans will watch. So PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem has resorted to a series of gimmicks to cover up reality.
Begin the PGA Tour season in October, the same month that the NBA and NHL start up.
Make the Fall Series the beginning, not the end of the golf year. Make the PGA Tour season the longest in American sports. Because it's almost continuous.
Finchem's changes are for three reasons. Everything now revolves around the FedEx Cup. Hopefully, now the Tour can find a sponsor for their minor-league tour. Hopefully, now a handful of tournament sponsors at the least popular time of the golf year (the fall) will stop complaining about their reality and quit threatening to leave.
Golf needs fewer events to mean more but instead we get more events to mean less.
Q-school will not be to qualify for the PGA Tour, but for a spot on the Triple-A Tour to be named later.
The fall events that used to determine who kept their Tour cards and qualified for prestigious events the next year are now nothing more than just another tournament, although much like the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, "this counts."
The only good news is that this might strengthen the Franklin Templeton Shootout in December more than hurt it. Because the top players would rather make more money under less pressure in Naples, Fla., than busting their butt for a few FedEx Cup points for less money in Nevada. The Shootout field will likely get stronger than weaker in coming years.
Finchem is being shortsighted the same way he was a few years ago when the PGA Tour put a few bucks ahead of exposure and signed an exclusive cable-TV deal with the Golf Channel. For 15 years! David Duval remarked at the time, "We're trying to promote the game and attract non-golf fans, and we're leaving ESPN?" Yup, for nearly a generation! For those extra bucks, golf's popularity in the United States (TV ratings and rounds played in a year) is lower now than before Tiger Woods joined the Tour.
So with that in mind, the focus is now getting a corporate sponsor for the Triple-A Tour and continuing to extort money from sponsors for a handful of PGA Tour events that no one will watch or care about (but on the schedule they will really count this time).
There are plenty of tournaments and money already available on the PGA, European, Nationwide, Asian and other Tours. The FedEx Cup is enough of a gimmick and cash grab. So let's dilute the product more and go head-to-head with the NFL more often?
Instead of taking a couple months off and getting people generally excited to see you again?
Finchem's official quote was, "When things are going pretty well, that's the time to get better."
True. If only this weren't the "dumbest thing I've ever heard."