For sixty years, the Colonial has stood as one of the great tournaments on the PGA Tour. But this past weekend’s event may have been its last hurrah as a serious player.
Next year’s event looks like it’s in trouble: As of now, the tournament doesn’t have a title sponsor, it will be held three weeks after the Byron Nelson, and the big names have all but abandoned the event.
Why? Who knows? An article in the Dallas Morning News lists a number of reasons, including inviting Annika Sorenstam, mismanagement by the organizers (they apparently ticked off Tiger years ago), and the perception that the course is not favorable to the big hitters (read: most of the top twenty players).
And perhaps the memory of Hogan is fading to where it no longer has any real meaning. That happens, too. As hard as it is for me to believe, the names John Kennedy and Richard Nixon no longer elicit an emotional response from my students today. They’re just more old dead guys—in the same category as Benjamin Harrison.
I happen to think that the Colonial’s decline is just one of those things. The importance of tournaments—the majors aside—will wax and wane with the times. The Colonial is on the decline, but the Wachovia seems as though it is ascending. And twenty years from now, someone will be writing and wondering about why the Wachovia is no longer important.
One thing that the PGA Tour could do, though, is to institute a rule that every player must play each tournament at least once every x number of years. The LPGA has such as rule, and I think that it would help the overall health of the PGA Tour. It doesn’t help the TV ratings and thus the TV money if the big names only play their favorite tournaments. TV needs to have a steady audience every week.