As I watched the final round of the U.S. Open on June 17, all I could think of was one thing: Prime-time golf is fantastic. Since the tournament was on the West Coast, fans like me in the East Coast got to enjoy fantastic golf at night.
After watching it, all I kept thinking was that I wanted more of it. Given the huge TV ratings the U.S. Open got, I think it would be a safe bet to have prime-time golf in the future. Between the U.S. Open and PGA Championship, there's no reason that fans shouldn't get to see one prime-time major per year.
Let me say that I love golf in the afternoons. I enjoy watching events like the Masters start in the morning and conclude around dusk. This is a game that is meant to be played at those times, and I would never want that to change. On top of that, I would never want to shut out the East Coast. After all, there are plenty of great courses on my side of the country. Given the time that the sun sets, you can only play a tournament so late. That eliminates any chance of prime-time golf on the East Coast. However, the other time zones present some intriguing possibilities.
Since the Masters is always held at Augusta and the British Open is overseas, the U.S. Open and PGA Championship are the only two courses with time zone flexibility. I think it would be fun to see each tournament take place on the West Coast every other year. If they do so in alternating years, it would guarantee that at least one prime-time major would take place every year. I'm sure the PGA Tour and the networks would love the idea. Ratings for the final round of the U.S. Open were up almost 30 percent from a year ago. That means more money for both parties, so I have to think they will continue this trend. It's also great for golf fans because it adds something a little extra special.
By rotating majors to the West Coast on a regular basis, golf will give fans the best of both worlds. They can still get their Sunday afternoon golf but they can also get a taste of golf at night. Frankly, I would love to see both throughout the summer. Since the PGA Championship isn't slated to be out west for at least the next few years, we might have to wait for a plan like this. However, I'd love to see the governing bodies of golf get the ball rolling.* - Mark Paul is an avid golf fan. He has watched and played the game since high school.