Every week this season, Jay Busbee and Shane Bacon will toss around one thought on the upcoming tournament. No matter the importance of the event or the field, we will focus on one thing and chat about it. That's us Teeing Off, and here we go, with the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii ...
Bacon: The Hyundai Tournament of Champions kicks off this week in Hawaii, but honestly, do people really care? Sure, the field is better than it normally is, sans Tiger and Phil, but isn't it hard for the golfing world to get into an event like this when we have so many factors turning us off? The factors, just to name a few, include the time of the tournament (comes on at 5:30 p.m. ET and ends at 10 p.m.), the fact that it goes up against the NFL playoffs and bowl games, and that it's snowing in my most places around the country while millionaires are enjoying the sunshine of Hawaii. It just seems like a stretch. Why don't they have the event at a course we can all relate to? Start the season off at Torrey Pines or Riviera and give us something that we remember each year. It just always seems like the PGA Tour never really starts at Kapalua, and the only event anyone has ever remembered here was that duel between Tiger Woods and Ernie Els back in 2000.
Busbee: You need a little bit of time away from that which you love in order to appreciate it more ... or so my high-school girlfriend told me. And like my high-school girlfriend, Kapalua is now well-traveled territory. (Zing!) I'm not as down on the early season start as you are, but I'm with you, we need something with a little more heft to it than Kapalua. There are half a dozen courses in temperate climes that could host the season-opener, including Colonial in Texas and Doral in Florida. Still, let's dig into that whole "competing with the NFL" thing a bit further. What can the PGA Tour do to match up with the NFL in the early going? Or should it even bother? Hypothetically speaking, should the tour wait until mid-February to begin?
Bacon: I think waiting a little isn't a bad idea at all. Why not start the season during the dead week before the Super Bowl, so it gives sports fans an opportunity to watch something besides the horrible Pro Bowl? Also, since everyone would be in a lull, with nothing really on during the day, you could really promote that. It just seems the first week of January, going up against the FIRST round of the NFL playoffs equals zero ratings, and even less interest unless you're a golfoholic.
Busbee: Yeah, but that's a slippery slope to start down, isn't it? When you let the NFL push you around -- and, granted, it pushes everyone around -- you're playing defense right from the outset. I think that the lack of a layoff, more so than the scheduling, is the real problem. We just don't have time to really miss golf before it's back again. But if we're going to have the season start this early, why not have some fun with it? Bring in some legends and scramble. Throw some bets on the table. Or get one of those wacky equalizing golf games going. Might I humbly suggest ... devil ball?
Bacon: It's a solid point. Give it something distinctive. Mic all the players. Have some sort of "old dog, new dog" thing where all the players can pick an ex-winner of this event as their partner and team up against everyone. Make Fred Funk wear a skirt all week. Do something that gives it appeal and could have the guys at PTI talking about it, because if you aren't doing that, you aren't appealing to the biggest possible audience.
Now your thoughts ... do you like the PGA Tour kicking off the first week of January in Hawaii or do you think a change would make sense?