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  • Alistair Tait

Major championship golf wins in Rory’s oversaturated world

Rory McIlroy is right about golf fans being exhausted with over-saturation in golf. However, there are winners in this 24-hour golf world.

The major championships stand out more than at perhaps any time since they came into being. The Ryder, Solheim and Presidents Cup do too. Throw in a few other notable tournaments such as the Players Championship, the World Golf Championships, some Rolex Series events and the FedEx Cup tournaments, events where Rory, Tiger Woods, Brooks Koepka and other world stars compete together.

The rest is just filler.

However, it’s important filler. When you have 24 hour sports networks devoted to the royal & ancient game, then they can’t function without tournaments to broadcast. We wouldn’t have players like Rory breaking through without such tournaments and don’t forget, Euro Tour CEO Keith Pelley and his PGA Tour equivalent Jay Monahan need to feed their members.

Rory’s right though. There is way too much tournament golf. Here’s what Rory said yesterday.

“I don’t want to come across as sort of elitist but I think some smaller fields (would help), maybe a few more events with no cuts. There’s so many tournaments and there might be an over-saturation in a way. You look at the NFL and they play 18 games a year, 20 games a year max, and people want it all the time. “I know football’s different than golf and all that, but I think being a golf fan these days can get quite exhausted following so many different tournaments, different tours, all that stuff. So maybe streamlining it a bit might be a good place to start a conversation.”

Think about it. The golf circus rolls into town, the big top is already up, they do their stuff, and roll on to the next town, where it all happens again. Yet another 72-hole tournament takes place, and on and on it goes ad nauseum.

We currently have a ridiculous situation where golf has no off season. It lasts all of three days for both main tours. The number one player in Europe and the PGA Tour is decided and four days later the whole circuit starts up again.

It’s hard for fans to get excited about the upcoming golf season when seasons blend into each other. NFL fans look forward to a new season because they go so long without games to watch. Ditto for the Premier League.

There was a time when European season started in March and ended in October. There was a true off season, and golf fans looked forward to the new season. Not now. We have golf 24/7

You don’t need a PhD in economics to know that too much supply decreases demand.

Ask yourself this quick question without resorting to Google. How many of winners on either the PGA or European Tour to this point in the 2019/20 season can you actually name?

Thought so.

Let’s make it easier. How many winners from this calendar year can you name? We’re only into week nine. It shouldn’t be hard.

Thought so too.

I’m in the golf business and I sometimes struggle to remember who won a tournament two/three weeks previously, and that includes events I covered!

I used to play a game with my mates at Woburn Golf Club. I’d occasionally quiz them on what European Tour event was being held that week. Most didn’t have a clue. Most didn’t care. Often golf would be on in the bar in the clubhouse and there would be guys in my group who had no idea what event was live on TV, and probably didn’t really care.

How often have you turned on your TV on a Thursday night, watched 15-20 minutes of that week’s PGA or European Tour event and thought: Why am I watching this when it’s as dull as dishwater? All the while TV announcers are describing it as “a thrilling day’s golf.”

Bet most of you don’t reach for the remote when the majors are on, or the Ryder Cup. These tournaments stand out in this crowded market because they are a cut above the average week to week event.

I agree with Rory, some sort of streamlining needs to take place where the top players play, say a 20-tournament schedule circuit from March to October. That’s the top tier and the filler is placed in another tier/tiers but players can graduate through the tiers.

Maybe the idea of a Premier Golf League isn’t so daft after all.

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1 Comment

Mar 05, 2020

Interesting thoughts on golf saturation... Maybe if there was only 16 events that counted towards The Race To Dubai and The Fedex, we would have more of the top players together in fewer events ? But at the end of the day money will drive everything!!

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