The Champions Tour kicks off it's major season this week with the Senior P.G.A. Championship. It's being held at venerable Oak Hill in Rochester, NY. Strangely, the seniors have five major championships. Why do the younger tours only have the energy for four? Also, why doesn't this tour make up their minds. Do they want to be seniors or champions? Marketing 101, pick a name and stick with it. That's part of the problem with the Champions Tour right now, a lack of recognizable names. In fact, if you visit The Golf Channel's website the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial has top billing. You have to scour the web page to find much mention of the Champions event. Ahem, even the P.G.A. Tour's website leads with regular tour event and they're the internet home to the Champions Tour. Denis Watson defends. Denis Watson? I thought that was my mailman's name, only spelled wrong. Langer, Haas, Roberts, and Tom Watson are considered the favorites. With the exception of Watson these guys were journeymen on the P.G.A. Tour. Well, Langer, maybe not with his Euro wins. Regardless, watching Langer qualifies as an FDA approved sleep aid. Don't operate heavy machinery if he's in the lead and you're watching. I congratulate them for continuing to compete, but this weekend they're competing for average golfer's attention with beers, sunshine and meat on the grill.
Arnie's gone., Jack's gone. Seve lost it. With a few exceptions, the mega stars on the big tour turn 50 and have made enough money and claimed enough fame for five lifetimes. Their incentive to play and grind for chump money is lacking. Conversely, the mediocre guys see it as an opportunity and relish the attention they couldn't earn on the big tour. I guess the question is, "Would Senior Major League Baseball do very well?" Correct me if I'm wrong, and I don't have the viewing figures to back me up, but I'd say this major championship will go by largely unnoticed.
If I'm wrong and you do watch , this is one doozy of a golf course. After his 12 over par 292 at the 2003 P.G.A. Championship, Tiger Woods said it was "the best, fairest, and toughest championship golf course I've ever played." Jeff Sluman, a Rochester native, has played the course over 500 times. Early line favorite? Since being at it's current site in 1926, Oak Hill has hosted 2 P.G.A. Championships, 3 US Opens, and a Ryder Cup. Combining the 5 majors, only ten players have finished under par. So, if you do watch, at least it will be a chance to see players challenged by a terrific and historic venue.