"Roughing the Passer - A PK Frazier Novel"

My new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" is the follow-up to "Illegal Procedure" and "Roughing the Passer" and is now available in print and in e-formats at amazon.com, smashwords.com and iBooks. Follow me on twitter @kevinkrest.

Monday, August 7, 2017

THE PGA CHAMPIONSHIP MOVES FROM AUGUST TO MAY IN 2019: WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR GOLF?



The 99th PGA Championship is being contested this week at Quail Hollow Country Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, but in 2019, the PGA of America will move their championship to May from its current August date. That signals a move for The Players, the PGA Tour’s signature event, to go back to its traditional March date. It could also mean more significant changes to the PGA Tour, not all of them necessarily positive, but probably an improvement overall.

Significant Events March through August: Beginning with The Players and ending with the FedEx Cup playoffs, the PGA Tour will have a nice presence on the sports schedule for at least six months. Of course they will compete with the Final Four, the NBA Finals, the Stanley Cup and Wimbledon, but it will keep them away from the football season and the tennis U.S. Open. 

I Repeat, Stay Away From Football: I’m an avid golf fan, but when the NFL kicks off on Sundays, it’s curtains for the final round of the PGA Tour events. There are other alternatives, of course. The Tour could stage their events Tuesday through Friday, but that would all but eliminate spectator attendance. In addition, unless the tournament was on the West Coast, the rounds would need to be delayed and shown in the evening. With the up to the minute reporting in the current “too many networks, not enough content” environment, that’s probably not feasible as the outcome would be known before airing of the action. They could also mandate participation of the top players to maximize viewer interest, but as independent contractors, the Tour can only go so far to enforce the rule with players.

March Still Early for The Players: As a regular attendee of The Players for several years when it was held in March, May is far better from a weather perspective for the fans. But for the course, it’s more difficult from a superintendent’s view to manage the condition of the venue. It’s a tough trade-off, but by teaming with the PGA of America to move their tournament, it appears it’s one The Tour is willing to make.

The Month of May  Could Exclude Some Traditional PGA Venues: Oak Hill in New York might not be able to host in May. The same is true for the Chicago area courses. But it might also open up the possibility for courses that can’t host a U.S. Open or PGA now because of heat, like those in Texas and Florida. The last time the PGA was held at Southern Hills in Tulsa, temperatures were hovering around 100 degrees, making it difficult on the spectators, players and the course. I know, because I was there. So I would call this one a draw.

Reducing the Golf Season to January to August: For many players, especially the top ones that play an international schedule, they don’t generally play in the tournaments held after the FedEx Cup is awarded. This currently puts them at a disadvantage with the FedEx Cup awarding points in those tourneys. By officially ending the season after the playoffs, it would provide a clear beginning and end. The problem is that The Tour would be eliminating four to six official tournaments that now comprise the Fall Season. I have a suggestion that would maintain the integrity of the season, yet still provide a chance for those tournaments to not only survive, but possibly thrive. If the PGA Tour, the USGA, the R&A, the PGA of America and The Masters worked together, they could come up with a system where the Fall Season could be used for qualification into the four majors and The Players. It would still give meaning to the tournaments beyond unofficial money and add some excitement. They could even have a cumulative points system that may result in some high profile players choosing to play, especially if they weren’t otherwise exempt in those events. It would also eliminate the current situation that penalizes players who choose not to play an eleven month season by putting them behind in the FedEx Cup and money categories.

Better Tournaments: By shortening the season, it would mean the top players would be playing against each other more often. That is really what the fans want to see. A great example is the recent Bridgestone World Golf Championship won by a magnificent final round 61 by Hidecki Matsuyama. He prevailed over a star-studded leaderboard that included Zach Johnson, up and comer Thomas Pieters, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Bubba Watson and Ricky Fowler. How great would it be to see more of those tournaments?

Hear my recent interview with legendary sports agent Leigh Steinberg, where we discussed his agency, concussions, franchise relocation and philanthropy at http://thechtonsports.com/cold-hard-truth-sports-radio-show-1242017/

Also listen to our conversation with author and sports journalist Mike Carey, as we discussed his latest book "Bad News" about Marvin Barnes and reminisced about Mike's coverage of the Boston Celtics during their glory years with Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Danny Ainge and Robert Parish. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/golongmedia/2017/02/08/the-cold-hard-truth-on-sports-radio-show

Don't forget to check out my new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" at  Amazon.com and listen to me Friday's at 8:40 am EDT/ 7:40 am CDT on Lou in the Morning, streaming live on www.WPFLradio.com, 105.1 FM. Also check out www.thechtonsports.com for our podcasts and live broadcast on Tuesday's at 8:30 pm EST. I can also be reached via email at kevin@pkfrazier.com.