2014 STARTS IN 2013
Dusek: PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem has announced that Fall Series events are going to award FedEx Cup points beginning in October 2013. So starting that fall, the PGA Tour season is going to begin in October and end at the Tour Championship the following September. Is this a good thing or a bad thing, or, as our esteemed colleague Michael Bamberger wrote, an unnecessary over-complication of professional golf?
Herre: It's pretty much what the Euro tour has been doing for years. The winners will get FedEx points, but they likely won't get an invite to the Masters. Which do you think is more important?
Van Sickle: It's a good thing, and it signals a change of attitude. Once the FedEx Cup started, the Tour seemed to want the fall events to go away, which was on its way to happening. Now, in this tough economy, the Tour wants to keep every sponsor it can. Giving those events points and starting the season in the fall was necessary to make them attractive to sponsors. If one or two big names are enticed to play a fall event so they don't fall far behind on the money list, so much the better. But it's about keeping the sponsors in this case. I don't think the fall "pre-season" is ultimately going to make much of a difference, but I applaud the Tour for doing exactly what I've repeatedly suggested ever since the FedEx Cup started. Where's my consulting fee?
Bamberger: The baseball commissioner, in theory, looks out for the interest of the fans, the players and the owners. There's much good in this move, as Gary points out. But for ordinary fans, it just kind of messes with history. We talk about the '60 season, the '79 season, the '86 season, the 2000 season. The Tour didn't have to sell anything to make those years meaningful. If they pull this off - and they likely will -- it will be a triumph of marketing. Blech.
Godich: And that makes 'em just like the NFL. The Giants won the 2011 NFL championship, but they won the Super Bowl in 2012. Who's to say the season has to start in January? And these guys play golf for a living, a sport in which 25 starts a year is considered a heavy schedule. Is playing 30 of 52 weeks going to kill them?
Gorant: It's not ideal (what happened to not competing with football?), but it's economically necessary.
Shipnuck: It's slightly nutty, but I think it's a good thing. The Fall Series has good events, and this elevates their importance.
Garrity: I see how it makes sense from a sponsorship standpoint, but I worry that it will gut the traditional Hawaii start to the new year. Kapalua has always been about last year's champions gathering to start the new year, and the Sony marks the debut of all the new cardholders. They'll have to re-brand those events.
Lipsey: Come back in a decade, and the Tour will likely have tweaked the whole thing into a very good program that everybody likes.
Tell us what you think in the comments section below: Is starting a new season in October a good move or a bad decision by the Tour?
ASSISTANTS TO THE ASSISTANTS
Dusek: And finally, in Ryder Cup news, Davis Love III announced that Fred Couples and Mike Hulbert will be two of his four assistant captains at Medinah. How can those two men help Love and the United States team, and who would you select as the other two assistants if Davis called you tonight?
Shipnuck: I have a hard time caring about RC captains, until they start acting like buffoons or morons. Their assistants are nothing more than cart jockeys. Wake me when someone actually hits a shot at Medinah.
Godich: And how many assistants does a captain with a 12-man team need? It's starting to look like a college basketball bench, with all those suits sitting next to the head coach.
Garrity: I try to stay out of Ryder Cup politics, but if I were captain I'd want Jay Haas and John Novosel as my assistants -- Jay to supply the supportive vibe and John to tune up the team tempos.
Lipsey: You are a shameless shill man, Garrity.
Garrity: I wouldn't say I'm "shameless," but I don't allow my shame to get in the way.
Bamberger: Assistant captains Nos. 3 & 4: Warren Buffett and Brooklyn Decker.
Herre: Love will probably go with two more of his pals, don't you think, Michael?
Bamberger: If I had to bet, I think Davis will go to Justin Leonard, because he's been there, and Brad Faxon, for valuable putting chit-chat.
Herre: Couples and Hulbert are the ultimate players' coaches. I wouldn't be surprised to see Couples become the 2014 RC captain, with Hulbert as an assistant.
Bamberger: I agree, Jim. I think Fred gets the '14 nod for Scotland, but on my scorecard DL3 is his assistant.
Shipnuck: The Ryder/Prez Cup captaincy thing is getting to be like "Melrose Place," with all the partner swapping. Isn't there any fresh meat to be captain or an assistant?
Tell us what you think in the comments section below: Who should Love choose to round out his assistants at the Ryder Cup?