If There Are No Fans… Does An Event Really Make a Sound?

Lately, there has been a lot of discussion about sporting events continuing without fans.

When you think about it, the game of golf and its professional iteration of it is no different than other professional sports. In an article from 2019, I pointed out the contrasting similarities. It doesn’t matter which sports league it is, professional golf really is no different than say the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, and NASCAR to name a few. How do I figure?

Well in what is a relatively easy question to answer, all of the sports have things in common. First of all, there’s free agency. Golf? How? Simple, when equipment contracts expire, often we’ll see a play jump ship to play a different brand. Look no further than Justin Rose who departed TaylorMade Golf in favour of Honma Golf. Granted, Rose did return back to a golf bag predominantly filled with TaylorMade Golf products, save for a COBRA Golf KING SPEEDZONE 5-wood when we last checked in March. Then there’s Sergio Garcia who left TaylorMade Golf for Callaway Golf just to… actually, we’ll leave that one alone. I wouldn’t touch that one with my dog’s 6-foot social distancing stick. Often money and more lucrative equipment deals are the “inspiration” for leaving one brand and joining another. It isn’t necessarily about better equipment to be had. There’s just so much parity in the golf equipment industry.

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Photo Credit: Golf.com

Merchandise. Yes, there’s that as well. You could be walking around your golf courses Pro Shop or local golf retailer and the “merch” is everywhere. Polos that say Adidas Golf or Nike Golf on them. At events, there’s always “pop-up” shops with logoed products of the event that you’re attending. Ultimately, the merchandise goes back to the golf manufacturer and in a roundabout way, that also partially pays for a player’s logo deal or apparel contract. Do you realize how much the fans of other professional sports ultimately pay owners and players by purchasing and wearing their jerseys or baseball caps? It’s a massive revenue generator.

All of the sports including professional golf also make a ton of money from ungodly television contracts. In 2019, every NFL team received $255M from the league’s television contracts. Recently, the PGA TOUR renewed its contract with CBS and NBC for an astronomical $700M per annum over the next nine years. That’s big money rolling into Ponte Vedra, FL. Without you, the fans, watching the events on your television that simply isn’t possible.

Basically, without fans none of this is possible. In saying “this” I am referring to professional sports even existing. Which ultimately gets me to my main point.

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The Ryder Cup. The bi-annual team event that pits the best professional golfers from the United States vs Europe. Being Canadian, I have no vested interest in who wins or loses because Canadian golfers are excluded. I’m just a fan of good golf. There’s been a lot of scuttlebutt that in the wake of the global pandemic facing us, the Ryder Cup will be played with no fans in attendance. Honestly, in my opinion, that makes this event borderline “pointless”. While the golfers themselves have something to play for, with no fans in attendance the event itself would be so sterile. The fans make the Ryder Cup what it is. They’re the ones who create the atmosphere. There’s talk that the NBA and NHL has vetted cities like Toronto to host the playoffs without fans. At that point, I wouldn’t even watch it on television. No atmosphere and no emotion. It’d basically be like watching a scrimmage where I’m the only person in attendance in the arena. The teams feed off of the energy of those in the galleries or stands.

Now what I do have is a crazy suggestion for the golf powers that be. Postpone the 2020 Ryder Cup until 2021 and keep the venue the same (Whistling Straits). What about the Presidents Cup you ask, which finally yielded an entertaining event in 2019? Play that in 2021 as well. Often, I’ve said that the U.S. has so much depth that they could field two teams. Put my theory to the test. Just look at all of the “Stars and Stripes” on the OWGR. It’d be a great chance for the USGA to see what they have for the future by immersing players like Collin Morikawa, Matthew Wolff, Max Homa, and others on the team. Not to mention guys like Kevin Na, Kevin Kisner, and say Phil Mickelson as a playing captain.

The television ratings for both would be amazing. Hello, television and TOUR executives. Just think of the dollar signs while you sit there in your “ivory towers”. Without the fans at live events, what’s the point?

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee

President’s Cup Day Three Gimmes

As the third day of the Presidents Cup has come to a conclusion the Ernie Els led International Team is up by two points leading 10-8. Heading into “Sunday Singles” the Americans have closed the gap. Here are my gimmes from Day Three.

  • Marc Leishman. I don’t know. Obviously, I’m not Ernie Els but all that I know is that after the first three matches that he played in, I would have benched him regardless of him being Australia’s own. As far as I’m concerned, Leish has just not “brought it”. He looks out of sorts out there although coming down the stretch he did come through. Good on him and playing partner Abraham Ancer to claw back after being 5 DN to salvage half a point in the afternoon session.

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  • Tied in with that storyline. Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas. They were 5 UP. I’m not suggesting that they choked but…
  • Tiger sitting all of Day Three. Alright, so there might be some speculation involved here. Maybe he was feeling “off”. Maybe he didn’t have time to sufficiently warm-up before the afternoon sessions. Maybe he liked the way that Rickie Fowler complimented Justin Thomas in the morning session. Or maybe, he just wanted to play the role of Captain. Clearly, the best player on the American team sitting out the entire day is a curious decision.
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Photo Credit: Golf Digest

  • Alright, I’m tired of reporting on Patrick Reed. but, in a case like this how do I refrain from doing so? As if he wasn’t bad enough, his caddie Kessler Karain got involved in a physical altercation with a fan. The caddie has a few jobs. Give course information, carry the bag, talk to his player throughout the round to keep him focused yet relaxed and tell the fans “quiet please” and defend his player when needed. At no time, however, does that mean getting into a physical altercation. It can’t be easy being Reed’s caddie these days and after days of hearing the heckling, I’m sure he got tired of it. Karain, will not be on Reed’s bag for the Sunday singles after a meeting with PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan. I’m curious to see if any criminal charges come against him. It was an assault.

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  • Speaking of caddies. Is it caddie or caddy? I prefer to go with “ie”.
  • The Presidents Cup is up for grabs. It’s anyone’s trophy. Ancer is leading off in a head to head match vs Tiger. Something he wished for in November. Well kid, you got it! Honestly, though, I think Abe has played very well in his first Presidents Cup. He has made some big putts this week.

Until The Next Tee!!

#seeuonthenexttee #fightandgrind

Day Two President’s Cup – Gimmes

As I sit down and write this the International Team leads the United Staes Team 6.5-3.5. Here are my “Gimmes” from Day Two at the Presidents Cup.

  • Tiger Woods and Justin Thomas are en fuego. They are dynamic, they are a duo thus qualifying them as a “Dynamic Duo”. That putt that JT made on 18 was clutch and who knows? That could be the turning point in the Presidents Cup. Without it, this might be over in a way that I never saw coming.
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Photo Credit: Golf Digest

  • Speaking of not seeing it coming. I expected this event to be a bloodbath as I thought that the International Team would be decimated by the favourite American side. Instead, this International has shown great chemistry and they look like a team. Whatever you’re doing Ernie, keep doing it. Much has been said of analytics. Ernie Els for Team Captain every Presidents Cup.
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Photo Credit: Golf Digest

  • O Canada! Yep, it’s time for me to wave my flag. Adam Hadwin is 1-1 in his matches. I enjoy watching him. His game is underrated and to be honest, it’s like watching a right-handed Mike Weir in his prime. Waggle and all.
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Photo Credit: Getty Images

  • That Louie Oosthuizen and Adam Scott pairing. Is there a prettier twosome of swings to watch than those two. Especially Louie, he’s so efficient in his move.
  • Tiger is 2-0 in his matches. Not like he had to but he’s proved to the world that he “deserved” to be a playing captain. Now it’s just a matter of how many matches he plays in. 3, 4 or could it be conceivable he plays in all 5? I’m guessing he sits out Match #3.
  • Sticking with Tiger. Is he a masochist? He might be because he’s stuck poor Webb Simpson with the “lightning rod of controversy” Patrick Reed.
  • I was going to abstain from talking about Patrick Reed… Again. I mean it’s like flogging a dead horse at this point. Nice antics there, bud. Mocking the shoveling motion after draining that putt. I’ve been objective when it comes to you, as I should be as a writer. I looked up the definition of moron and there was your picture. Hey bud, you were down and lost the match 3&2. My advice, look at the scoreboard. You never chirp or taunt when you’re down. Na or Kisner should have been there and not you. Time to take a seat.

  • The PGA TOUR. I don’t know who’s running your Twitter or social accounts. But suggesting he was having fun is a delusional statement. It was just last week in one of your events that Reed did what he did. Now you’re enabling it? Very foolhardy. Oh and one other thing. The United States is not playing the Aussies. It’s the International Team. Get your facts straight.

 

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee #untilthenexttee

It’s Presidents Cup Week – 2019

Well, here it is. It’s Presidents Cup week. I admit it, I’ve been just a tad harsh about the Presidents Cup. I’ve used the term second-rate and afterthought among others to describe the event. It will never be the Ryder Cup but it’s still newsworthy in the world of golf.

Upon completing the Hero World Challenge the United States team departed The Bahamas to head to Melbourne, Australia to get set for a few days of practice at Royal Melbourne Golf Club before the event takes place. Of course, the International Team was already assembled in Australia as the Emirates Australian Open was played last week (won by Matt Jones).

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Personally speaking, it is my opinion that the event itself will be a “bloodbath” in terms of the results. Unless something miraculous happens, “Divine Intervention” or otherwise I expect the American team to win in a rout. Honestly, as a golf writer, golf lover, and golf fan I just hope that we see some good golf and some close matches Are there any matches to really pay attention to?

Well, I guess that all depends on who you are and what you’re looking for. Of course, when Captain Woods is on the course playing that will garner a ton of viewers. It goes without saying right?! Gee, thanks for pointing that out Captain Obvious… Or in my case is it Oblivious? Either way. You know that native Aussie’s Adam Scott and Marc Leishman are going to be the sweethearts of the fans (Cameron Smith as well) because both are Aussies playing in their “home and native land”. Speaking of “home and native land I’ll have an interest in anything that Adam Hadwin does during the week. Honestly, I still select Corey Conners between the two golfers… Or both. And then there’s Patrick Reed.

Oh Patrick! Everybody and their “proverbial” uncle have weighed in on last week’s controversy, debacle or whatever you want to refer to it as. If he intended to cheat than you know what… bad on him. But, I suppose if he can look at himself in the mirror with a clear conscious than good for him. Was he looking for a slight advantage to use the rules of a waste bunker to his advantage? I think that’s a clear yes. You could suggest that he set a precedent in 2015 at the same event in the same situation. In that event, no penalty strokes were assessed. Hey, if his teammates aren’t in that much of a lather about it, than why should we be? It’s over!! If anything, Patrick’s “demonic ways” (I use that term tongue in cheek) will fire up the Australian galleries and could breathe life into what is otherwise a pretty mundane event.

It could be great from a viewer rating point of view. That’s all that matters right? It’s a business.

Gimmes 

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Photo Credit: Presidents Cup

  1. With little fanfare last week was the Junior Presidents Cup. Won by the American Team 13-11. Let’s hope that the big boys are as entertaining. Congratulations to Canadian  from the Canada National Junior Squad LAURENT DESMARCHAIS on his selection to the the team.
  2. Isn’t it funny? Patrick Reed is the scourge of the Earth. Yet, fans rooting for the American team love Patrick in these events. He is after all… Capatain America.
  3. I’ve seen comments on social media suggesting that the Aussie fans will be extra hard on P Reed asking and hoping for them to be classy. Seriously, like the American fans have been classy on their side of the pond during Ryder or Presidents Cup. Folks, it goes both ways.

 

Until The Next Tee!!

Patrick Reed and the 2019 Hero World Challenge

As I have passively sat and watched the 2019 Hero World Challenge from the lovely Bahamas I have a couple of quick thoughts.

  1. It’s an event that is hosted by Tiger Woods.
  2. It’s played on a golf course (Albany Golf Club) that was designed by architect Ernie Els.
  3. Both Woods and Els just happen to be Captains for the 2019 President’s Cup.
  4. Because of points 1 and 3, this event feels more like a team scrimmage for the U.S. Team as they jet-set their way to Australia for the President’s Cup.
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Bunkerlicious (Photo Credit: ernieels.com)

Look at who’s playing and who isn’t? Other than a smattering of U.S. players and a couple of Euro’s thrown in for good measure (Justin Rose, Jon Rahm, and Henrik Stenson) it’s hardly a “World Challenge”. To be fair, the guys from the International Team who may play in this event are playing in this week’s Australian Open. At the root of what I feel it truly is the Hero World Challenge is an exhibition event. Yet, here we are. Somehow, some way, a little bit of controversy seeps its way into the event. We know what I’m talking about.

Patrick Reed and the waste bunker incident. Or as I call it “TrapGate”. Just because Patrick Reed’s name is on this already makes golf fans (and observers) want to gather in an unholy mob and lynch the man. For the most part, the golf world “hates” Reed. Much can be said of the reason why this is the case. You could suggest that Reed, himself, has done it well… To himself. The brash claims of being a “Top-5 player in the world” early in his career (he wasn’t far off) and his past while attending university (accusations of stealing and cheating from his teammates) has never helped his cause.

So while in a waste bunker in his Friday round on the Par 5 11th hole he was observed ‘improving his lie”. “Fluffing” if you will. A picture is worth a thousand words, so I’ll let the video evidence present itself. I know, many of us have already seen it. But even TMZ covered it. TMZ!!!

There’s no doubt in watching it, that the lie was improved. As the commentators said, twice in fact. I have a question out of this. Or maybe two, and a lot of you are going to be pissed-off at me about one of them. But before I continue, did he set a precedent? Same event back in 2015, no penalty. BTW, great sleuth work to DZ Golf. I thought I saw this before from him.

  • How do we prove the intent? Do we assume that he was cheating because he’s done it before? If we were to dredge up his past? Would we hold his past against him because he’s simply Patrick Reed thus sentencing him as such?. Only one person knows if this was his intent and that’s Patrick himself. That said, I will say this. My father had a saying that I use as well.

“If it looks like a ducks, acts like a duck and swims like a duck. Chances are it’s a (insert expletive here) duck”

  • What if it wasn’t Patrick Reed? What if it was Tiger Woods? Would we be willing to make the same accusations? He had clear intent and he was cheating. After all, and dare I say it his past isn’t exactly sterling. By the way, I’m not even talking about the off of the course stuff like “cheating” in a different way and DUI. Wasn’t it the same event that he got away with “the strike that wasn’t” in 2018? Had it been Reed in that place would he have gotten a penalty? I almost need to insert here that the answer is nearly an emphatic “YES!”. 

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Golf fans, in the end, he accepted a two-stroke penalty as handed out by PGA TOUR rules official Slugger White. He admitted and accepted responsibility. Maybe the intent was truly there and deep down inside he knew it. Could it have been two two-stroke penalties? I think the possibility exists but it wasn’t what was doled out to him. He took his poison. Let it go and move on. If it were Tiger or some choice other players, you know you’d let it go. Many of you are calling for him to be replaced by Kisner or Brendon Todd. It’s not going to happen. Besides, what about Na?

Like it or not, golf and more notably the PGA TOUR has a double-standard. Now there’s a new slogan for the PGA TOUR. “The PGA TOUR. The double-standard in golf”. There’s some marketability.

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee

 

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