by Jeff Skinner
This week marked the “start” of the new PGA Tour season and unfortunately for the PGA Tour making a few changes to the calendar, calling October the start of the new year and crossing their collective fingers won’t change much about the tournaments previously called the “Fall Series.”
The changes mostly benefit the players. Now, winners of these six events will get a pass into The Masters and earn full points in the FedEx Cup race. The sponsors get a little more buzz for dumping their millions in the tour’s coffers but for the fans nothing has really changed. All the stars that drive television ratings are nowhere near the Frys.com and the field is very similar to the past years.
Two things that the PGA Tour can’t change about this time of year have the greatest effect on fall golf. First their players are tired. Tiger Woods, Phi Mickelson, Rory McIlroy and most of their fellow big names are spent this time of year. Fall is where they dial it back, spend some time with family and make a few trips abroad to pocket those hefty appearance fees. So naturally the fields during this time of year will be missing all those fan favorites.
Secondly, the PGA Tour’s autumn tournaments are facing the one thing that no television broadcast can compete with: NFL Football. Sundays and Sunday nights along with Monday and Thursday nights, are ruled by the behemoth that is NFL Football. Nothing draws fans and ratings like the NFL and while the changes made to the tour’s events will benefit their players somewhat there will be no change in the ratings. Consider this: the Red Sox-Tigers American League Championship game lost out to the NFL last night. But it wasn’t a game…it was a post game wrap up show. Now that’s drawing power.