A few news items that don’t rise to the status of a full post …
Vijay Singh and his lawyer claim that players on the PGA TOUR have tested positive for performance enhancing drugs and not been punished for their misdeeds. It would be good to have some transparency on this issue from the PGA TOUR. I suspect, however, that golf fans are not going to like what gets discovered in all of this.
The PGA TOUR and PGA of America announced a series of initiatives designed to further cooperation between the two groups. The PGA Championship will offer a $10 million purse to equal that of the Players Championship, and PGA Professionals will be featured more heavily at PGA TOUR events. What I’m waiting for is the PGA of America and PGA TOUR to offer themselves as an alternative to the USGA. I maintain that the local PGA Professional—not the USGA—is the primary point of contact with the game for 99% of players. Further, it is the TOUR professionals who drive interest in the golf. For most golfers, the USGA is a distant afterthought—somewhere behind the European Tour and the LPGA.
Golfweek has an interesting article on Nicole Hage’s struggles in transitioning from the LPGA to the real world of work. My guess is that this is true for all but the most successful of athletes in every sport.
In business news, Tom Olsavsky has joined COBRA Golf as VP for research and development. He spent the last seven years at TaylorMade, where he was Senior Director of Product Creation. Before that, he was at Titleist. Cobra seems like it will continue to make inroads into territory previously dominated by TaylorMade, Nike, Callaway and Titleist. In my golf circles, they’re now in the conversation again.
Finally, Tiger is under fire again for his playing schedule. He played in a silly but financially lucrative exhibition match with Rory McIlroy (losing, incidentally), but skipped the WGC-HSBC Champions event in the same country (China). He has come under fire in recent years for limiting himself to a few familiar tournaments, leaving others to wither on the vine. I don’t know why anyone bothers with indignation. Tiger does what is good for Tiger. Consider: 50% of his total victories have come on six courses. Tiger stacks the deck in his favor and the sport be damned. I think the TOUR should institute a rule requiring players to include on their schedule a couple of tournaments that they have not played in the past three years. That way, even second-tier tournaments would occasionally get a visit from the big draws.