Mark Rolfing on Golf Channel this morning had some interesting things to say concerning the decline of the PGA Tour’s West Coast Swing. His main point was one I’ve been making for a while, but he stated it more elequently, perhaps.
Rolfing said the FedEx Cup (which he demurely referred to as “playing so much in September”) had effectively turned January and February into the “off season” for many top golfers. Great point well-stated.
Then he went off the rails.
Rolfing next complained about events such as the Dubai Desert Classic, saying they paid appearance fees to top players, pumping up the OWGR points for those events.
Okay, that’s total Twilight Zone stuff there. Because either top players are weighted too heavily in an event or they aren’t. It has nothing to do with whether they are paid to play or where the event takes place. If Rolfing has a problem with the OWGR system, complaining about the Desert Swing of the European Tour is not in any way, shape, or form addressing the issue. (In fact, the plentiful points allocated for the top players in the OWGR system has a very strong connection to the limited-field tournaments problem I wrote about just yesterday.)
Rolfing then states, as if it were undeniable fact, that it’s harder to finish in the top ten in Phoenix than in Dubai. I guess that’s because all the Ryder Cup losers are at Phoenix while the winners are at Dubai. (If Rolfing thinks finishing in the top ten at Dubai is easy, what does he think about Tiger Woods’s World Challenge to Find a Sponsor 18-man shindig every December? Why don’t we hear him complain about that event?)
Besides, let’s be honest about appearance fees. We all know the PGA Tour allows appearance fees as long as you lie about it. Steve Elling got in hot water for describing how a pay-for-play policy lassoed both Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods for the Greenbrier one year. You pay for “outside activities,” not the tournament itself. Uh, huh. Sure.
And then consider how at one time the Buick events unfailingly landed Tiger Woods — while they paid Woods under the umbrella of a general endorsement deal.
Rolfing started off by making a very good point but weakened it by unrelated complaints.