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Golf on TV

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Greetings Golfers,

This is a big weekend for televised golf. Super Bowl fans will probably watch golf as an appetizer for the big meal/game. And the Phoenix Open is the perfect excuse to start eating and drinking … if the fans at the tournament are an example. The par three 16th hole has become a full blown circus … or a lions den … depending if you’re a player or a fan. (Sounds like the Super Bowl to me).

I like sports. I like to play sports … and I like to watch sports. But I like to watch sports less and less every year. Last week on the PGA Tour, Sunday’s final group took 6 1/2 hours. Don’t forget … they play in 3somes.

I just read that 5 1/2 hours is now the average pace of play on the Tour. That’s unimaginable. I played yesterday in South Carolina at a very difficult golf course in a 6some (I played with the Head Pro and his Assistants). It wasn’t a Tour event, but we had games going, so it was fairly serious … and we played in 4 hours … as a 6some!

I think that the main problem is that so many of these guys practice more than they play. They are so mechanical and so dependent on knowing exact yardages and playing like a robot. Their pre-shot routines are mind-boggling. And the conversations with their caddies are like watching a catcher come out to talk to the pitcher on every pitch. This has to stop. And baseball has to stop its madness also. Play the game!

Last Sunday, Roger Federer won the Australian Open in 5 sets in about 3 hours – half as long as it took the PGA guys to play their rounds. Does that make any sense?

If the PGA Tour wants decent tv ratings, they better fix this problem. And why do the networks show so much putting? Who cares? I care if it’s the leaders … but they just show random guys sinking long putts … WOW! That’d be like NBA highlight programs showing guys making meaningless free throws. Is this rocket science … or are they just clueless and/or lazy?

Let’s hope the Phoenix Open is fun to watch. I won’t talk about the Super Bowl … I’m still sulking.


Tom Abts

GM/Head Golf Professional