The Ultimate Game Scheduled For April 29 – May 4

Somewhere between the endless fawning over Tiger and the hopelessly insipid Big Break, the Golf Channel has scheduled an interesting-sounding event called “The Ultimate Game.” Inspired by the Big Stakes Match Play Championship of a couple of years ago, the Ultimate Game features 64 two man match play teams playing for $2.4 million. It’s going to be a semi-pro event. Players can’t currently be members of any of the Tours, or a past winner of a professional event. On the other hand, that leaves it open for former Tour players.

If the Golf Channel will hire some professional producers and camera operators (instead of the amateurs they use for every other show), it could turn out to be a good time.

I’ve got this nagging feeling, however, that there’s been some controversy over this event from a couple of years ago. Something about financing, or sponsorships or somesuch. But I can’t put my finger on it. And I can’t find a past post about it on the blog. Maybe a reader can remind me.

From the event’s press release, here’s the background on the event:

The concept for what is now The Ultimate Game at The PGA West Stadium Course was born more than 10 years ago. All-Pro NFL quarterback Steve Bartkowski and friends were watching a PGA TOUR event in which one of the pros appeared pressured to sink a six-foot putt: “That’s not pressure. If he finishes second, who cares? His money isn’t on the line. Pressure is when you have to sink a six-footer to win a $100 Nassau, and it’s your $100,” Bartkowski’s friend said. From there, the concept of golfers playing for their own money was born.

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