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PGA Tour’s Future pt2

As I was saying yesterday in Part 1 PGA Tour Uses THE FORCE on Luke.

The decision to delay the mailing of the Player of the Year ballots may have seemed like a slight on Luke Donald who clearly is the POY as of today.

However, the PGA Tour has every right in the world to make business decisions and the decision they made here has more to do with Global Economics than bigotry.

Let’s move on and finish the point…

The PGA Tour has two major initiatives right now:

1. Make the Fall Series relevant

2. Build a presence in Asia

The PGA Tour Uses Tools to Build Value

The Tour has numerous tools it uses to build value in its product The FedEx Cup is a huge value builder and the Kodak Challenge is a value builder (at least it tries).

The Fall Series is comprised of:

Timberlake

Fry’s.com Open

McGladrey’s Classic

Disney – Children’s Miracle Network Hospital

Right now the Fall Series is only watched by golf nuts, there is plenty of drama for us as we watch to see who will make it into the Top 125 and get their unrestricted cards for the following year. This is fun, but, it provides very little entertainment for the average golf fan.

The Tour is fighting an uphill battle here as all the big named players just came off a big stretch of golf in the Playoffs and the Tour Championship.

You can’t move the Playoff events any later in the year without taking the Deutsche Bank, just outside Boston and The BMW in Chicago, out of the mix.

They need big tournaments in these parts of the country and if they were to be pushed any later there would be snow on the ground and snow makes it tough to play golf. It’s already freezing in Chicago when they show up, any later and we’d have serious weather issues.

Deutsche Bank Championship

The Deutsche Bank has become a Labor Day tradition, the event even ends on the Monday holiday.

My point here is that the PGA Tour has to keep that schedule in place, it’s working and you can’t fix what isn’t broken.

Tiger’s event has always been a big draw and may continue to be but, who knows these days?

That said, you are pretty much stuck with a set of boring tournaments at the end of the year called the Fall Series. The big boys won’t show up in its current state.

IF, the Player of the Year, Money Title, the Vardon Trophy and the Palmer Award were pushed out to include the Co-Sanctioned Asian events that take place after the Fall Series, the feeling would be that the Fall Series was more a mid year necessity than an end of year month off.

Just Throw Money At It

Why don’t they just throw money at the Fall Series?

On the PGA Tour the purse money comes from Tournament Title Sponsorships and TV deals.

The players generate their money from equipment sponsorships and the purses.

The big name Title Sponsors won’t put up the money if the players aren’t playing. The players are getting their equipment money either way.

But here’s the caveat to the equipment money. Equipment deals are loaded with incentives like, yes:

Player of the Year

Vardon Trophy Winner

The Palmer Award

Money Title

If the Tour can figure out a way to extend the season so that the Fall Series is important to players, then they would get players to show up, if they get players to show up, they can bring in big money Title Sponsors.

Then, and this is important, they can extend things even further to include Asia.

What’s Asia Have to Do With It?

PrintIn case you haven’t noticed Asia is pretty big.

Not only in population but in terms of MONEY. Asia is an incredibly entrepreneurial part of the world and when there are big time money guys to throw money around, surely there is big time golf following close behind.

Chubby Chandler is on record stating that the Asian Tour will be bigger than the PGA Tour within ten years. Huh, well, he may be right?

The European Tour obviously sees the value in promoting its product in the Far East and Middle East, the name of their FedEx Cup equivalent is “The Race to Dubai”.

The Far East, China, Korea and Malaysia are Golf Explosions right now just look at the two simultaneous events this weekend, the CIMB and Shanghai Masters where there is $11,000,000 up for grabs in one 4 day period.

Vijay Singh just this Wednesday on Asia…

“That’s all they talk about: the next big thing is Asia. There are so many courses and so many tournaments now (in Asia). When we played here (a few years ago), we were trying to look for tournaments to play in. Nowadays, we can pick and choose what we want to play.”

Asia Pays Big Money – Just to Show Up

The Asians have a significant advantage as it stands right now and these advantages are called APPEARANCE FEES.

The Shanghai Masters purse is $5,000,000, that may not sound huge but, there are only 30 players invited! Then they pay appearance fees as well. Shanghai was organized by IMG

The CIMB Asia Pacific Classic is a $6,100,000 purse and the winner earns $1,300,000. That is a HSBC-WGC ART (9.1.09)30% increase from $1,000,000 last year and this is now just shy of the amount of money a player would earn for winning the The Players, which was coincidently won by KJ Choi last year.

The HSBC WGC Event the following week in Shanghai China is a $7,000,000 event with $1,300,000 going to the winner.

The point is that Tour Players have a tendency, like all intelligent life forms, of following the money.

The PGA Tour would be foolish to ignore this.

What Does This Have To Do With Luke Donald?

So, what does all of this have to do with Luke Donald?

I guess the point is, absolutely nothing.

The Tour has to do what it has to do. If what it has to do is extend the the PGA Tour Season to a 44 week season to be competitive then this is what it will do.

If Luke has to wait an extra couple weeks to learn that he’s won the Player of the Year Honors from the PGA Tour and subsequently have his huge bonus wired into his already bulging bank account from Mizzuno, then so be it.

Was I a bit miffed when I first heard about this POYgate travesty, yes.

Do I enjoy the United States PGA Tour being the Standard for the Rest of The World?

That is a resounding, YES.

I believe in PRESERVING THIS TRADITION, even if a few others have to get stepped on to preserve it.

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