More Money for Pros but What About Fans?

The past two weeks have had their share of significant golf news starting with Lee Elder’s death followed by Tiger Woods’ revelation that even made the national morning shows, his days as a full-time touring pro are over. Both stories pushed the PGA Tour’s announcement of a $60 million increase in prize money next season to $427 million out of our attention but did leave unanswered questions concerning the most significant factor in professional golf. Continue reading

Player Impact Bonus Affects Fans

After Golfweek revealed the new popularity-based bonus plan for PGA Tour members most comments were focused on the players and made points such as undoubtedly Tiger Woods will be at the top of the list when the program goes into effect in January. This $40 million windfall rating social media popularity may affect fans and opinions have been scarce concerning how fans, the most important factor in the equation, will be impacted. Continue reading

Strategic Alliance Equals World Tour or Takeover?

Having had a couple of weeks to think about the implications of the announced “strategic alliance” between the PGA Tour and the European Tour a few speculations are in order. There was nothing inappropriate in the announcement’s timing on Black Friday but that may be the reason it received relatively little comment in the media. Continue reading

A Strange PGA Tour Season

The 2019-2020 PGA Tour season will be remembered for a long time. The worldwide pandemic caused a disruption to our lives as well as the Tour’s schedule that hopefully will never be repeated. Besides the hiatus which resulted in just 36 tournaments being played rather than 46 as was done last year there was the requisite astonishment how far D.J., Bryson, Rory and any number of other athletes hit the ball off the tee plus the ongoing and somewhat misguided calls for restrictions of clubs and balls or both. Continue reading

Maybe We Need a “Rahm Rule”

Jon Rahm’s chip-in on the 16th hole Sunday at the Memorial Tournament all but clinched his victory and was described variously as “masterful” and even “Seve-like.” However, PGA Tour rules officials said his ball moved prior to the chip and assessed a two-shot penalty which reduced the 25-year old Spaniard’s margin of victory from five strokes to three. Continue reading

After Half a Season

With 22 PGA Tour events in the books before the corona virus-induced cancellations and Masters postponement we are now halfway through the 2019-2020 season. Unknowns abound starting with whether more tournaments will be cancelled or will some, as they are saying with the Masters, be played later?

Obviously with what seems like the whole world going into quarantine fans understand the need for this but that doesn’t take away the disappointment of missing out on what was shaping up as an exciting runup to the first major and then golf’s favorite event the Masters itself.

Fans conditioned to the Thursday through Sunday golf telecasts must make do with re-televised past tournaments or be reduced to watching “Wheel of Fortune” and hoping against hope for a “Caddy Shack” rerun.

For someone writing about the game and not wishing to parrot others or engage in the handwringing over the schedule disruption, the list of related but germane topics is a veritable desert. On the assumption most of our readers are affected similarly here are a few clearly unimportant statistics to possibly provide some quiet satisfaction to the golf deprived.

Don’t read too much into any of these numbers but they could come in handy playing the 19th hole.

WYNTK First Half 2019-2010 PGA Tour Season

Two Two-time Winners So Far
Justin Thomas, who is on the Titleist endorsement staff, won the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges and the Tournament of Champions while Brendon Todd carrying a Ping G410 LST driver, Titleist irons and a SIK putter took the top spot at the Bermuda Championship & Mayakoba Golf Classic.

Speaking of Endorsements
Many assume the driver company able to boast the most wins would the same as it has been for several years in the past, i.e., TaylorMade. For the 2018-2019 season players using one of their drivers won 18 events with Callaway users totaling 9 wins and Titleist at 7. In our 2019-2020 half season the somewhat surprising leader is Ping with 9 wins compared with only 5 for all last season. If you’re interested, Callaway which is the bestselling driver brand has but 2 this season, Titleist with by far the largest endorsement staff has 8 and the perennial top driver company TaylorMade has 3 wins in the 22 events.

Winning Golf Balls No Surprise
Five golf ball brands have won in the first half of the PGA Tour season. Taylormade has two victories while Bridgestone, Callaway and Srixon have one each. The remaining 17 events were won by players playing either Titleist Pro V1 (seven) or Titleist Pro V1x (10). In case you’re interested, for last season’s 46 tournaments including the Zurich Classic of New Orleans team event, the numbers were Titleist-26, TaylorMade-7, Srixon-5, Callaway-5 and Bridgestone-4.

Scotty Cameron Tops in Putters
Again without putting undue emphasis on these numbers, Titleist’s Scotty Cameron division has racked up eight wins, Ping six, Odyssey (part of Callaway) three as has SIK courtesy of Brendon Todd’s two victories. TaylorMade completes the list with two wins.

Finally, the Money
The Tour’s best didn’t go away from TPC Sawgrass with a total loss for the week. According to PGA Tour regulations if only one round of an event is completed prize money is cut in half and split amongst the players. In the case of The Players Championship, the $15 million purse was sliced so each of the 144 competitors received just over $52,000.

Top 10 Golf Stories in 2019

Tiger’s Season
At 43 with a much-repaired body Tiger Woods won his fifth Masters and 15th major championship leaving the cream of the current stars in his wake. Then, deciding to not play as much as he did in 2018, teed it up just six times in the 20 post-Masters events of the 2018-2019 season. The results were lackluster and included just one top 10 with two missed cuts and one withdrawal. After another surgery—this time a knee–Woods showed he still has what it takes with a win at the Zozo Championship, his 82nd on the PGA Tour which ties Sam Snead for the greatest number all time. Finally, to cap off the year he led our Presidents Cup team as playing captain to a two-point comeback victory over the Internationals. It’s apparent the possibility Woods will tie or surpass Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors is better than ever. Continue reading