Scheduling The Tour Championship

The PGA Tour is missing a tremendous opportunity with its Tour Championship. Rather than going mano-a-mano against weekend football, the Tour should reinvent the penultimate event of the FedEx Cup as a four-day, mid-week, prime-time sporting event.

Scheduling the Tour Championship as a Tuesday through Friday event would offer a tremendous opportunity to capture both sports fans and casual audiences. Aside from some local baseball coverage and the odd Big East football game on Thursday, September weeknights are largely devoid of sports.

The mid week format would work for television coverage if they moved the venue from East Lake to somewhere in the Pacific Northwest—say, Brandon Dunes—or to Hawaii. At this time of year, sunset is at 7:55 PM in Oregon—nearly 11 pm on the East Coast. So with just thirty players in the event, the final group could tee off at around 2:30 local—or 6:30 Eastern. That’d put the back nine for the last few groups in prime time. Just to be safe, they could put up klieg lights on the final few holes. In Hawaii, Prime Time on the continent is in the middle of the afternoon, local time.

Brandon Dunes would look great on television, and I doubt Oregon has the same dead greens problem that have plagued East Lake. And from what I understand, September is a good month, weatherwise to visit Hawaii. Either offers more exciting vistas than East Lake, which is a fine course, but offers no visual distinction.

To make this work, you’d also need a week off between the third and fourth events. But that just might make the players happier, since the most they’d have to play would be three events in a row. The week off also would give the Tour a chance to promote the heck out of the final event, just as NFL has taken a week off before the Super Bowl.

And if the Tour REALLY wanted golf on a Sunday afternoon, they could televise a Sunday pro-am before the Tuesday start. Thirty players and thirty golf-serious celebs—no comedians; good golfers only.

Scheduling its biggest event in prime time would be a big, bold move for the PGA Tour. And I think it would work.

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6 thoughts on “Scheduling The Tour Championship”

  1. They might just end up with a mid-week tourney this time anyway.  we are supposed to get heavy rains in memphis tonight through tomorrow, but to the south and east (toward Atl) they were saying 6 inches in parts over the next couple days.  The rain over Atlanta right now is not the same storm that is threatening us.  I wonder if they will finish round 2 by Sunday morning.

  2. I have to agree with you on the Prime Time, cause going up against football is no good for the tour. It’s the same problem they had as going up against major league baseball playoffs. The fact that there are only 30 players would definitely allow you to delay the times enough to have good back nine coverage on prime time.

  3. But having to watch them play golf in Hawaii would just hurt my feelings too much.  It was much easier to watch them play golf in the desert.  I wasn’t jealous of that at all!

  4. Greetings ….

    If it were up to me, the Tour’s finale would be staged Monday thru Thursday in the first or second full week of November, in Hawaii. By that time, the baseball playoffs will be done. The field would be 50 players.

    Be a lot better and more meaningful than the PGA of America’s Grand Slam event, for sure.

    Thanx-A-Lot, Frank


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