I thought that reality tv was last year’s news. And I was hoping that—given how bad The Golf Channel’s “Big Break” is—that no one would try another golf reality series. But it seems that the folk at PAX television have other ideas. Starting Jan 23, PAX will be running seven episodes of a new golf reality series: The WGL Million Dollar Shootout.
In it, five teams of four golfers will compete for a million dollar prize. They’ll play in a scramble format for 72 holes, with handicaps figured in. Scoring will be kept by a point system, similar to the Stableford, in which they receive 8 points for a double eagle, 6 for Eagle, 4 for Birdie, 2 for Par 1 for bogey, 0 for double bogey, and minus 1 for a triple. Team handicaps will be determined by dividing the team total by 4.
Each round, the team captain will eliminate one of the other team members, so that in round two, they will have five three-player teams, etc. After 54 holes, the two teams with the highest point totals will go on to a final 18-hole match for the million. Players previously cut will come back to return the teams to full strength.
An interesting twist, is that once every six holes, the teams will be able to call on a pro to take a shot for them. The resident pros were Fred Funk, Christy Kerr and Mark Calcavecchia.
The premise doesn’t sound too bad, but I wonder about the production values and direction. In particular, I hope that they avoid some of the things that set me on edge about “the Big Break”: the cheap look and poor production values, and the insipid outtakes where they coax the players into making catty comments in a vain attempt to build tension. That sort of thing works on Survivor, where how long you stay in the game depends upon your social skills, but in golf, it’s about your golf skills, and the fact that you can’t stand another player has nothing to do with anything.
I also wonder why the show hasn’t been promoted. I don’t recall seeing any ads in the golf magazines or on tv (and if I did see them , they left no impresison at all). I learned about it through an article in my local newspaper about a Michigan man who is competing in the event. The local guy talked about his participation:
It was all for television. If I wanted to take a shot, I had to wait thirty minutes while the cameras set up—and then talk about how I felt about my success or failure.
That also doesn’t sound very good. I realize that they will cut the footage to make it seem seamless, but I dont’ see the players showing any excitement or tension if they have to wait half an hour to take each shot.
I’ll keep my fingers crossed.