The New York Times is reporting that the PGA Tour will move the Barclays from the Westchester Country Club to the Ridgewood Club in New Jersey. The move will leave Westchester without a PGA Tournament for the first time since 1967. It’s another in the list of tournaments—like the Western Open, the International and the BC Open that have been unjustly killed by the Tour.
I will NEVER forgive Finchem for killing the Western.
The Barclays is the first stop on the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup playoffs. And I suppose that as long as Tiger is playing, it really doesn’t matter where the tournaments are held, or what communities you screw. But the striped one won’t play forever (and I predict he won’t play as long as people think). When he retires, the Tour is going to have to fall back on its rock-ribbed golf fans and supporters—like those at the Western, the International, the BC and Westchester.
But those long-time supporters won’t be there.Instead, you’ll have the dubious support of the nouveau fans—those who have joined the Tiger bandwagon. The new commissioner (Finchem won’t be around to take the blame for the mess) will need to scramble to keep the tournaments intact in the wake of the Tiger crash.
Imagine the new Commissioner—ten years from now—hat in hand, returning to Westchester. “I know that we took the tournament away because Tiger wouldn’t play there, but now that he’s gone will you take it back? The people at Ridgewood don’t want it anymore.”
What’s more interesting about this move is the implication that it was dictated by Tiger:
One club member who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the Barclays said pressure to move the event was coming from CBS, which was disappointed by mediocre television ratings for the 2007 event, won by Steve Stricker.
Tiger Woods did not play in the first leg of the FedEx Cup playoffs, and had played at Westchester only three times in the past 10 years, skipping the event even when it was sponsored by Buick, one of his sponsors. Woods has never cited the 6,839-yard course as a reason for his absence, but the shorter layout does not play to his strengths.
If so, add the Westchester to the International on the list of dead tournaments where the chief suspect is Tiger (note the posts here and here). In the economics of the new PGA Tour, if you’re not favored by the striped one, you’re out.
This is not to say that Tiger demanded the moves. It’s much more likely that fawning sycophants like Finchem, and the network executives made the move as a form of Tiger bait. “If we set everything up perfectly for him, maybe he’ll grace us with his presence.”