Spare Change

A new schedule in 2007 is a sweet start, but why stop there?
February 13, 2006

Change is comingto the PGA Tour in 2007 in the form of a new schedule and the FedEx Cupplayoff. The alterations are meant to entice marquee players to tee it up moreoften. But why stop there? If I were commissioner for a day, I'd consider thesenine changes as well.

•Clock theduffers Any pro will tell you Wednesday is the worst day of the week: It'spro-am day. That means a 5 1/2-hour round with three hackers who paid thousandsof dollars apiece to chop up the course. Institute a deadline. Teams get 4 1/2hours after a shotgun start, and when the horn sounds, all play stops. Iguarantee that every team will finish 18.

•Cut the duffers,too Even with a time deadline, Wednesdays would still suck, so take a page fromthe Wachovia Championship, which downsized its pro-am. Each Tour pro plays withonly two amateurs, which is a more relaxing experience for all.

•Limit: one ballFrank Stranahan was famously asked to leave Augusta for the day because heplayed more than one ball during a practice round. Bring back the one-ballrule. You want to hit a small bucket from the greenside bunker? Do it on thepractice green.

•Slice theSeniors Come '07 The Golf Channel could show the European tour in the morning,the Nationwide in early afternoon, the PGA in late afternoon and the Championson tape-delay at night. Whoa! Time to rethink golf broadcasting. Start with theseniors. Edit them into a fast-paced, 90-minute package shown in theevening.

•Spread thewealth There's too much televised golf on Sunday, when many golf fans are outplaying. Nationwide events aren't living off ticket sales, so start them onSaturdays and let The Golf Channel cover the heck out of their finishes onMondays and Tuesdays.

•Show some legCaddies were allowed to wear shorts and the world didn't end. Let the playerswear them, too.

•Augusta passesThe Reno-Tahoe Open (and every other second-tier Tour stop) would be a lot moreinteresting if the winner got an invitation to the Masters, as in days goneby.

•Get a bigger CupThe Ryder Cup is golf's best spectacle, but it's over in a hurried three days.Stretch the competition over four days, adding a team match in the first tworounds.

•Less match It'sa TiVo world, man: A 36-hole final for the Accenture World Match PlayChampionship is 18 holes too many for time-pressed viewers. Make it 18, and ifit ends early, show the match between the two guys playing for third.

TRUST ME

by FARRELL EVANS

J.B. Holmes will win again in '06, and also qualifyfor and contend at the Masters.

PHOTOSAM GREENWOOD/GETTY IMAGES SKINSGAME
Letting players wear shorts might get marquee players like Tiger Woods to entermore tournaments.

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)