Steve Stricker — Getty ImagesYou know that feeling that starts to creep in your gut late in July when you're just itching for the NFL season to begin but know you still have a LONG way to go before it begins? Yeah, we don't have that feeling with golf. Like, at all.
The PGA Tour, and global golf in general, seem to take as much time off as your local apartment's groundskeeper, disappearing for just two full weeks before starting right back up again as the Hyundai Tournament of Champions begins on Friday and runs through the weekend, ending on Monday evening (no Monday Night Football!).
While there are plenty of reasons to think golf needs a true offseason, here are a few things that get me excited for the PGA Tour to kick off so early in this here 2013.
Golf at night -- Ahh, live golf at night, one of the true great treasures of this here sport. It's funny to think, but some of my favorite golf events are the ones that come on at awkward times in our American time zones (British Open, the away game Cups, Hawaii events, that battle between Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods in China). I love being able to hunker down in front of the TV and get to watch the pros kick off their season on one of the scenic courses the tour plays all season as nightfall encroaches our homes. Fantastic. I wish they'd play more tournaments in Hawaii.
The watered down yet still exciting champions field -- Face it, this isn't Tiger Woods versus Ernie Els anymore like it used to be, but this field still has a ton of big names that is sure to bring us a champion that could win multiple times in 2013. Bubba Watson, Ian Poulter, Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler are all on hand to take a shot at this trophy, and carding a win in the first event of the season has to take a TON of pressure off the rest of your year and allow you to just go out and play, knowing that no matter what you will at least have one win in '13.
The 18th at Kapalua -- It really is one of my favorite holes of the entire year, and I feel like each day we get to see something happen there that leaves the regular golf fan's mouth agape. If it isn't a 400 yard drive, it's Bubba pulling off this driver off the deck or something rolling in an important eagle putt to finish off a round. I love the 18th here and wish more finishing holes had this type of excitement level attached.
The fact that golf actually means something again -- Sure, golf is played during the "Silly Season" as we call it, but we haven't had a golf tournament actually mean something since the Ryder Cup, and before that, the Tour Championship. This event means something for the FedEx Cup, the money list, getting into the Masters and all sorts of other things that actually make or break a season.