- Alistair Tait
Why does golf fear the PGL?
You’d think the Premier Golf League was the devil incarnate considering the reaction in some quarters to the proposed new golf tour.
Why the fear?
The PGA Tour has threatened banning players who have the temerity to join the proposed new league. The European Tour has also said it will fight the new circuit. That they, the PGA Tour in particular, should take such a defensive stance is not surprising. However, surely if PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan is so confident in the product the PGA Tour offers, then he should be able to swat away the PGL threat without resorting to draconian measures?
Obviously there are mixed messages from players on the proposed idea. Lee Westwood is a fan. He says it’s a no brainer for a guy at his age, 48, to think about playing in the new league. I’m sure there are others thinking the same thing who aren’t as forthcoming.
Rory McIlroy has expressed doubt. That’s his right. If he doesn’t want to play then that’s his choice, but why restrict those that do want to play?
The Open letter the PGL released yesterday is a long way short of detail, such as where the $20 billion is coming from to fund $20 million prize funds with first place prizes of $4 million (No wonder Westwood wants a slice of that action - who wouldn't?); who’s going to join up; venues, especially 12 in the United States; TV coverage; and a host of other questions the PGA Tour and European Tours will be keeping their eyes on with interest?
The whole concept may be pie in the sky, a tour dreamt in cloud cuckoo land. Who knows?
Let’s take yesterday’s open letter at face value. Why not celebrate this idea? Surely the fact golf can attract this sort of money has to be a positive for the health of our game?
Like many, I’m interested in some of the ideas the PGL is offering. Three-day tournaments? Yes please! As I’ve stated before, apart from the majors, 72-hole tournaments are often snooze fests. How many golf fans pay more than remote interest in who leads the first round of any golf tournament aside from the majors. Besides, three-day tournaments such as the Solheim and Ryder Cup seem to garner a lot of interest.
A team concept to events? Why not? Strange there are critics knocking this idea when many have slated the IOC for not mandating a team element when golf was readmitted to the Olympic Games.
A match play finale? Why not?
Shotgun starts for five-hour telecasts? Fine by me. Shorter tournament days rather than the often interminable time play takes on traditional tours, such as Thursdays and Fridays of most 72-hole tournaments, has to be welcome.
Forty-eight player fields? Considering the general public only seem interested in the big names, then I doubt many golf fans care if Joe Bloggs ranked 101st in the world didn’t make it into most fields.
Plans to include the world’s top women? Don’t think there will be many of the game’s best female players objecting to playing for more cash than they do now.
Bottom line is what’s wrong with a bit of competition in this royal and ancient game. Isn’t that what free market capitalism is all about? The sort of free market capitalism the PGA Tour has manifest for years.
There are those who’ll argue, quite rightly, the PGA Tour has raised a lot of money for charity over the years. Well done; it is to be lauded for that. However, who’s to say the PGL won’t raise even more money for good causes?
I have nothing to do with the PGL or the PGA Tour or European Tour, so I have nothing to gain from writing this. I say why not to the proposed PGL? No dynasty lasts forever, and the PGA Tour has no divine right to rule over world golf. I say bring on the PGL and let’s see what happens.
Seriously, what does golf have to fear?
#JustSaying: “The game of golf doesn’t encourage looking back. It matters more to concentrate on the challenges to come.” Former European Tour chief executive Ken Schofield