It was a bit surprising last week when the PGA Tour Policy Board shelved the “designated tournament” proposal that was supposedly a sure thing after the positive reception it received at a meeting this summer. The idea was to require the top-ranked players to play at least one out of five events that traditionally have weaker fields to boost interest in these tournaments.
According to several reports, it was put on hold because tournament directors didn’t want the stigma of needing help. Which, of course, is understandable–you don’t want to feel like you’re forcing players to be there. But thing is, once Tiger and/or Phil tee it up, the sponsors, fans, tournaments organizers, TV execs would forget that it was a “designated tournament” because everyone is happy and it’s a great success. Anyway, naturally, conspiracy theories started flying that Tiger and Phil were against the proposal, which led to its demise.
Well, that’s probably not the case.
“I think the players were certainly for it, said PGA Tour player and former Policy Board member Joe Ogilvie in a phone interview, “but I think a few tournament directors said, ‘Well what does this mean for us? What does this mean for sponsors if we’re looked at as the lesser tournaments that need help?”
With a few tournaments still looking for sponsors and TV contract negotiations looming, it certainly wouldn’t hurt if Tiger, Phil and other elite players showed up at places that haven’t traditionally played in the past. So, what’s the solution? It’s simple. Ogilvie thinks Commissioner Tim Finchem will personally ask the players to help — something he hasn’t necessarily done in the past.
“Tim’s always kind of had a laissez-faire approach to being commissioner,” said Ogilvie. “He doesn’t make very many phone calls to players or press guys to play many tournaments. He says it from the press room, but he doesn’t make those calls very often. I think he realizes now that if he does make those calls, maybe guys will play — what he found out was he does hold sway over a lot of guys. If the commissioner calls, they’ll think twice about taking a week off here or there and they may add a tournament to their schedule.”
“If I were Tim, I’d personally make a house call to all the guys that move the needle. I would sit-down with Tiger and Phil especially.”
Question is, will Tiger and Phil answer the door if the commish comes knocking?