That’s the headline you’ll be reading soon when the powers that be get the details sorted out. It will not happen until early in 2023 because there are a lot of things that need to be done first.
- Tiger Woods is the world’s most popular golfer. He is one of the greatest of all time. Let’s not bicker about who actually is the greatest in the history of the game, because that’s a matter of time and place. It’s enough to say that his status on the world stage approaches that of Muhammad Ali and all would agree that Tiger has earned a permanent place on golf’s Mount Rushmore.
- Tiger can’t play competitively anymore. He shows occasional flashes of his old brilliance, but at his age and with his history of injuries, his ability to dominate the game as a player is gone. The best way for him to stay on top of the golf mountain is to take over everything.
- Tiger needs to quit soon. Too many top professional athletes were unable to leave the stage at the top of their games and stumbled around long after they should have quit. Tom Brady is the latest, having had a great chance to quit on top as winner of another Super Bowl with a different team but choosing to un-retire and spend most of this season looking like a guy who stayed too long on the stage and can’t remember his lines. Do you think Tiger wants to be another Willie Mays staggering around the Mets outfield, Michael Jordan clumsily leading the Wizards to nowhere or Ali getting beat up when he got old and slow?
- Tiger won’t play the senior tour. He doesn’t need the money and he doesn’t want to end his career in the minor leagues.
- Tiger is television’s darling. Everyone knows the difference in ratings is enormous when Tiger plays and when he doesn’t. When he plays, even people who don’t care much about golf tune in to join the millions who want to see Tiger. When Mr. Woods is the commissioner of world golf, he’ll appear in the booth with announcers, glad-hand the sponsors, host clinics, give on-air lessons and Tiger Tips, recount his many memorable events and shots and make everyone happy.
- History repeats itself. Once upon a time, it was the Professional Golfers Association who ran pro tournaments in the USA. Most PGA professionals are not good enough to play for a living and instead earn their incomes by giving lessons on the range and clerking in the pro shop. Those who play competitive golf for a living refer to PGA professionals disdainfully as shirt-stackers. Tour players didn’t want shop clerks making decisions about tournament golf and so they created the PGA Tour. Now they look ripe to be superseded by The Tiger Tour.
Here are six things that Tiger will do
1. Get rid of Greg Norman. Norman is the face of the LIV tour, meaning he conned them into it or they were gaga over him or they couldn’t find anyone of greater stature to lend them an air of professional legitimacy. True to form, he’s once again alienated many as he once again tries to make a mess of the PGA Tour. For a time the world’s top player, the Great White Shark was adored until he wasn’t. His remaining fans and supporters say this has to do with his being snakebit, pipped at the finish line in agonizing fashion by Bob Tway, Larry Mize, Mark Calcavecchia and Jack Nicklaus. Norman’s detractors looked at the same outcomes, called him a choker and said “We told you so” when he collapsed in the worst-ever Masters tournament loss to Nick Faldo, who ran him down like a dog. Last week in the Bahamas, Tiger said the PGA Tour and LIV cannot possibly coexist as long as Norman is involved.
2. Get rid of Jay Monahan. As bad as Norman and his crowd have handled things, commissioner Monahan has made a mess of things with a bunch of last-minute decisions made to counter LIV’s successfully skimming off some of the PGA Tour’s cream. Sure, some of the LIV players are big names that no longer compete on the biggest world stages, but some are up-and-comers. They all play for the money and that’s how they afford those private jets. Only a few golfers want to measure themselves against golf’s grandfather, Old Tom Morris, or against giants of the game Walter Hagen, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, Bobby Jones, Sam Snead, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and more. The current generation of golfers care as little about the history of the game as today’s basketball, baseball and football players care about theirs.
3. Get rid of Monahan’s inner circle. How can an organization with so many resources be blindsided by an upstart golf league? There are two likely reasons – one is that they weren’t prepared and the other is that they’re bunglers. Isn’t strategy about being prepared in the event of things unforeseen? The PGA Tour had no master plan at the ready and instead acted in knee-jerk fashion, exposing the lack of thinking by the fossils and hangers-on in the Tour boardroom.
4. Stop the infighting. Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin. The days of the PGA Tour are numbered. The history of sports is one where newcomers see opportunities to challenge the status quo in the hopes of forcing a merger so they can pull up a chair at the big table with the adults. Today’s National Football League is a great example of what happens when a new league comes along. Up until 1966, there was much internecine warfare until the owners figured a merger would make them more money. The same thing happened in 1976 with the merger of the National Basketball Association and the American Basketball Association. When the top players are split between rival leagues, revenues go down for all but a few. Better to have the world’s best all competing at the top.
4. Decide where the money will come from. Contrary to the beliefs of those seeking to hold the moral high ground, the source of professional sports prize money hardly matters as long as there is plenty of it. Not all of golf’s sponsors are altruists or even good people. Those with enough money and enough pull have always gotten away with things the rest of us couldn’t. Yes, Virginia, there are bad people in the world, and the list is too long for this page.
5. Determine how the world’s golf tours will be structured. Every tour will be brought into the same tent. It’s essentially the same situation with baseball’s major and minor leagues, with the parent team owning and operating farm teams that play at varying skill levels. Relegation, as it is done in the Premiere League, is being planned already. Start at the bottom rung, earn promotions and work your way up as you win. Each year, the worst performers are removed in favor of younger, fresher, more talented players. This system is partially in place now with the second-tier tour sponsored by Korn Ferry (née Hogan, Nike, Buy.com, Nationwide, and Web.com). Finish the year in the top 125 and your PGA Tour membership auto-renews. Good-bye, Q-School.
6. Fix the world ranking system. This is easily done with a well-thought-out algorithm that is based upon where you finish each tournament relative to the rankings of the other players in the field. Here finishing first at the Players Championship against one of the toughest fields in the world will be worth more than winning such who cares? events as the Fortinet, Sanderson Farms, RSM, QBE, Valspar, and Valero “classics.”
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