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Teeing Off: Are December events necessary for golf?

Shane Bacon
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Welcome to Teeing Off, where Devil Ball editor Shane Bacon and national columnist Jay Busbee take a day's topic and smack it all over the course. Suggest a future topic by hitting us on Twitter at@shanebacon and @jaybusbee. Today we talk about the Silly Season, and if these golf tournaments help or hurt the game.

Bacon: This week marks the conclusion of these weird "tournaments that matter but don't really matter" events that golf has when the PGA Tour and European Tour's seasons end. We used to call it the Silly Season, but I'm not sure that completely grasps what is happening now considering how great the field is for Tiger's tournament.

All that aside, do you think these events are good for the game or are a little overkill for golf fans considering there is basically a tournament 52 weeks out of the year?

Busbee: The easy thing to say is that the NFL has mastered the art of demand through scarcity, and golf could take a lesson from that. However, the two sports aren't completely comparable--for one thing, the Patriots and Seahawks play all 16 games, not just the ones they want to. For that reason, then, the golf schedule is kind of like a Vegas buffet for viewers ... if you want to load up on every kind of food imaginable, you can, but if you want to focus on just the carving station and the dessert bar, you can do that too.

My feeling is, what's the harm? As long as a few charities get a few bucks, more power to 'em. And you never know when you might get a gem like last week's Rory-Adam Scott showdown. You?

Bacon: You can call me un-American all you want for this statement, but I actually prefer some of this Silly Season events in other parts of the world because like you said, you can tune in if you want at weird hours and catch some great golf. The Australian Open was great for me because I could turn it on later in the evening and watch live golf between huge names like Rory and Scott.

The problem for me is when December rolls around the golf gets a little too confusing, especially with the new wraparound schedule. Is this tournament for 2013 or 2014? Does this tournament count for FedEx Cup points or not? Is this one of those team events or individual?

I agree with you that it's nice to have the option of watching golf and I am fairly excited for this week's tournament just to watch McIlroy attempt to go back-to-back, but a month of absolutely no golf wouldn't be horrible if for no other reasons than to give the fans a chance to recharge their batteries and get us excited for the new year.

Busbee: There really is nothing like checking out the finals of some Australian tournament in the late-evening Saturday hours, is there? We're in the midst of the 2013-14 mess right now, and I sincerely hope it'll work itself out in future years, because right now, man, most people have no idea where we are in the schedule.

Of course, as golf goes global, we need to recognize that we'll see more and more alternate-schedule tournaments. Expecting Australia to go dark for us is like expecting us to stop golf from June to August for them. Ain't gonna happen.

With that in mind, you think we'll ever get to a point where these international tournaments start getting more than anecdotal interest from American audiences?

Bacon: Ummm, is Tiger playing? Isn't that the question we always have to ask?

I do think the international events will get more exposure, but I would almost like to see these tours becoming a little more independent. I don't get why a WGC event can count for both the PGA and European Tours, and I think it takes away from someone who might be playing strictly European Tour events over the course of a season.

That said, I have a feeling that 2014 could be a considerably epic season, especially if Tiger, Rory or Phil took home the green jacket in April. Could you imagine if Tiger won at Augusta and Mickelson capped off his career Grand Slam at Pinehurst 15 years after losing to Payne Stewart? We seriously might have to just skip the final two majors because they wouldn't have a shot at living up to those results.

Busbee: I'm thinking the entire season is going to revolve around that June week at Pinehurst. Everything is aligned for Phil, which seems to be a bad omen.

Are there any remote-Aussie courses set up like Pinehurst? Because if I were Phil, I'd move the whole family there for six months and grind away.

Bacon: Knowing Phil, I bet he gets in a few dozen rounds at Pinehurst before June 12.

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