by Jeff Skinner
The PGA Tour is like most businesses in these difficult economic times: it could use some help increasing its bottom line. There are some players that could help The PGA Tour this year deal with fewer dollars, less viewers and a “Tiger-less” season. We’ll take a look at some of the players that could have a positive impact on the tour this year.
One of the most common complaints concerning the PGA Tour is that the majority of golfers on tour all look and act alike. The perception among casual fans is that all these players are boring and lack any personality. Pick any name off the money list and chances are he’s a thin, faceless, millionaire that votes Republican and never says or does anything controversial. As Tiger Woods has shown, perceptions can be horribly wrong.
If the name you pick happens to be Rory Sabbatini you’ll get a millionaire golfer, but he’s not boring and he’s plenty controversial. Sabbatini is one of the few golfers that isn’t reluctant to show his emotions or speak his mind. Sometimes he gets in trouble for both his mouth and his actions. In a tour that appears to be laden with closed mouthed, politically correct droids, Sabbatini stands alone.
While everyone is looking for a savior of the month for the tour, Sabbatini could be just that. No, I haven’t lost what is left of my mind but the tour needs compelling stories to keep those ratings up. Not everyone tunes into a sporting event to watch their favorite, they also tune in to watch teams or players they dislike suffer. There are millions of “Yankee Haters” out there. “America’s Team”, the Dallas Cowboys are as hated as much as they are loved and for every Tiger lover (pre-smash up) there was a Tiger hater.
Sabbatini could be the PGA Tour’s “Evil Empire.” He could be the villian each week. He was already voted “least favorite playing partner” in a 2007 poll of tour players. He has played the bad guy role before when he putted out on slow playing Ben Crane while Crane was still in the fairway. He called Tiger beatable when no one dare criticize Woods and really doesn’t care if anyone likes him anyway. He would be the perfect foil to the squeaky clean PGA Tour player of the week. Let him be the “bad guy” on the tour. It’s a role he seems to relish already.
Let’s get this straight, this is all about perception. We won’t let the masses find out that Rory is a doting father. That he has a group of close friends on tour. No one needs to know that he raises millions for charity and donates plenty of his own cash to US Military charities. This is all for the good of the tour. Let Sabbatini play Lex Luther. He can be The Joker. He can be the villain and wear the black hat at every Sunday afternoon showdown on the tour.
Remember, this is for the good of the tour. Sabbatini may be the only player that could pull this off and he really doesn’t care what anyone thinks anyway.