The Round Table: Silly Season and Christmas wishes

Each week we ask our panel of writers, PGA members and golf industry experts to weigh in with their views on the hot topics of the day.

Silly Season winds up this week with the PNC Challenge, featuring parents and kids. It follows the Hero World Challenge, The Match and the QBE Shootout. What’s your take on these events and is there an appetite for more?

Jim Deeks, Fairways Magazine (@jimdeeks): I generally don’t watch any of them unless I have nothing better to do. The only one with any interest for me is watching the PNC Parent-Child, and especially to watch Charlie Woods’s progress.  That’s not to say I think these events shouldn’t happen.  They have their place, and they do give players a chance to show fans that they do have personalities, since the rules and competition are a little less intense than regular Tour events.  Do we need more of them?  I don’t think so, obviously, but I don’t look snidely upon those who enjoy them and would like to see more.

Craig Loughry, Golf Ontario (@craigloughry): These events are hard to watch. They’re just not compelling, they’re not serious about the golf and it shows. It’s events like these that make the Majors that much more interesting to watch.

Michael Schurman, Master Professional / Hall of Fame Member, PGA of Canada: These ‘made for TV shows are kind of fun mostly when we hear the interaction between the players. They should also be in a format that is much different than a normal golf tournament. I like team events but once again when the players converse. Years ago, there were two or three shows featuring players talking around a table. It was Jack, Lee and Hale Irwin on one and Jack, Arnie and Gary. I think there was one that involved Tom Watson too. I LOVE the stories it is one of the things I liked most about Feherty. Wouldn’t it be great to have a regular show called The Fireside Chat with three or four players who played a long time on the Tour telling stories of days gone by? Another format I’d like to see is a series of shows featuring various players competing in sports other than golf: Feherty vs Poulter in a snooker match (a ton of players play pool games), Curtis Strange vs Sticker in a target shooting match, Peter Hanson, Phil Mickelson vs Matt Kuchar, table tennis, Faldo vs Nicklaus flying fishing, a whole bunch of them play basketball and a bunch of Euros throw darts. Let me know when you are ready to proceed, I have an entire program designed.

TJ Rule, Golf Away Tours (@GolfAwayTJ): More?  Probably not, I think it’s just the right amount.  I didn’t watch much of any of them, but had I been at home with nothing to do, I would flip them on, just to watch some golf.  I still prefer watching official events, guys trying to make a living, winning for the first time, etc.  To me that’s more exciting than rich players getting richer in silly season events.  Although it was nice to see Sahith Theegala win last week, he’s had such a good year, so that was great to see.

Hal Quinn, Freelance Writer, Vancouver: Whoever coined the term ‘Silly Season’ nailed it and it’s never been more apropos than this time around. With the World Cup, the NFL, the NHL, and the NBA all in play, it truly would be silly to spend any sports viewing time watching that stuff.

Peter Mumford, Fairways Magazine (@FairwaysMag): Too many Tours playing far too late in the year, then looking to cash in further with made-up events – when is it enough? I’ll admit to mild curiosity if I happen to have time on my hands but the whole Fall Series and Silly Season lost me years ago so obviously I’m not the audience. I can’t imagine we need any more of these things.

The golf media seems to have accepted the emergence of LIV Golf as the most compelling golf story of 2022. If you disagree, pls comment but our question is: what is the next most compelling golf story of 2022?

Deeks: I don’t disagree, but I’m counting the months till the Saudis finally admit that the whole LIV thing has been a complete PR and financial fiasco and shut it down.  The next most compelling story, to me, was the emergence of Rory McIlroy as the unappointed “king” of the PGA Tour — perhaps its best player, but certainly its chief, and most respected, player-spokesman.  I’m delighted — I think Rory’s a fine fellow.

Loughry: LIV Golf was the story of 2022, full stop.

Schurman: The biggest story that is emerging with little fanfare is the tremendous development of the LPGA. The purses are finally growing. TV coverage is increasing, and the skill of the Colour Commentators is getting better; the players are improving their interview skills. All of this increases the value of their product which increases media attention, which increases fan interest, which leads to ROI for sponsors. What a concept! People pay money for subjects that generate profits. It’s long overdue but it is happening.

Rule: It has to be the Open at St Andrews.  I was lucky enough to accompany a group of clients to the Auld Grey Toon to watch the festivities and it lived up to expectations and then some.  The week went off seemingly without a hitch, the weather was great, the competition was strong and it came down to two of the more likeable players in contention on Sunday.  It was a great celebration of the oldest championship in golf, and for golf in general.

Quinn: The collateral damage from the most compelling story will reverberate for quite a while. All those PGA Tour events that have been loyal and true to Ponte Vedra have been demoted to second-class membership miles below the elevated events. The story of if, and how, those events (like the Canadian Open) might survive is bigger than the tale of the events now offering ridiculous rewards. The most compelling aspect of this whole fandango is the unanswered question: where the hell did all this money suddenly come from?

Mumford: Money, money, money. It’s part of LIV Golf too but pro golf at the top end is awash in so much loot (both male and female) that it’s rapidly changing everything. Cut lines, qualifying and grinding it out on Tour are just a minor inconvenience now that up-front money, guaranteed contracts, no-cut events and ridiculous sponsorships reign supreme. They’re all hired guns, truly bought and paid for.

You get to play Santa. If you could give a Christmas gift to a player or media personality or industry executive, what would it be?

Deeks: A crying towel for Sergio Garcia.  A colouring book and crayons for Dustin Johnson.  A friend for Patrick Reed.  An admission by the R&A that fairway divots are Ground Under Repair.  And, come to think of it…  a revised, simplified, and intelligent set of Rules for the entire world of golf.  Merry Christmas to All!

Loughry: If I were Santa, I’d give Tiger a full medical clearing, no ailments or injuries, along with his 2000-2001 swing. And we’d all just watch the magic happen from there. Merry Christmas!

Schurman: Continued success for Canadian players, female and male; Jay Monahan to sit down with Greg Norman and create a true world tour with events all around the world; Tiger Woods to announce his retirement from play and become a more frequent announcer; a return to 4-hour rounds; courses closed from Dec 1 to Feb 1 due to plenty of snow for snowmobilers and skiers. Sunny and 78F every day with light rain from 3AM to 4AM; never shoot over my age on any course; and Merry Christmas and an end to all illnesses.

Rule: I’d give Greg Norman his own sandbox so he can go play by himself and leave the tours to work things out like big boys.

Quinn: On Xmas morn, the current crop of U.S. network golf commentators would unwrap and make part of them a smidgen of the eloquence of Peter Alliss and Henry Longhurst, and a liberal dose of the candour and insight of Judy Rankin. But, most likely they wouldn’t understand. So, in their stockings would be a small potion that would at least prevent them from ever uttering ever again: hole location or penalty area.

Mumford: A grand retirement party for Tiger Woods, the second-best golfer of all time; a moment of reflection for Jay Monahan so he can realize that the PIP is the stupidest, most contrived ‘competition’ ever invented; and some perspective for Brandel Chamblee who used to be a witty, knowledgeable commentator but now sounds like a broken record.

This is the final Round Table of 2022. Wishing all our readers a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a safe and joyous New Year. See you in January.

The Round Table
The Round Table is a panel of golf writers, PGA members and industry experts.

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