This will be the first Thanksgiving since 1983 without the made-for-television golf event known as the Skins Game. I’m not sure anyone cares. Ratings in recent years have been abysmal; as the event pulled a 1.1 share on Sunday last year.
It was a great idea back in 1983, when the first Skins Game featured Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson. That would be the equivalent of having Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Steve Stricker and Sergio Garcia on the first tee. And even then it likely wouldn’t have the same allure. Instead, last year’s event featured Phil, KJ Choi, Stephen Ames and Fred Funk.
No offense to those fine golfers, but its not even close.
Of course, a lack of players isn’t what directly killed the Skins game. It was the lack of a sponsor. In this environment it is hard to find a sponsor for any golf event; it especially has to be hard to convince a sponsor to put up big bucks for second tier players. Perhaps if Tiger and Phil had both agreed to come, things would have been different.
But te simple fact of the matter is that there’s nothing in the Skins game to keep the big names away from their families on what for many is THE family holiday. The top tier players make enough playing the regular Tour schedule to ensure the financial futures not only of their children, but their grandchildren (and in Tiger’s case, for several hundred years to come). They don’t need the Skins game to pad their wallets. So they don’t play.
And then there’s football. For all my love of golf, I just don’t see how it can ever compete with the spectacle of professional and collegiate football games. Even for this Golf Blogger, the first instinct is to see if there are any good football games on. If not, meaningless made-for-television golf events would be the default choice.
Still, I worry about the finances of Fred Couples, now that the silly season events are running thin.