Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas from Average Golfer

"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord......"  Luke 2:11-14

Merriest Christmas Wishes !



Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Golf 2K10

This Average Golfer's been on a bit of a hiatus. A career in the big box retail industry has been a large factor, coupled with a dearth of fresh news in the golf world, other than the Woods boondoggle. I written my fill on  Woods' 0ff-course dilemma and will leave to the other myriad outlets to drool and speculate. What's left is the season ahead of us, a season in question thanks to a floundering economy and a starless franchise. Should be interesting at the very least.


The 2010 PGA season will field 43 events counting the off events during majors and the fall season tournaments following the FedUp Cup. That's really not too bad considering the potential for a sponsor walk out. The majority of the regular tour events have purses in the mid-5 million dollar range, which should keep the Mercedes dealers happy. What remains to be seen is the interest level maintained if Woods doesn't return to the tour for a protracted stretch. I think many sponsors are locked in for 2010 and are nervously awaiting for the recluse to surface and announce his tee tomes for next year. All this adds up to an unsettled start in 2010 for the big business of golf. My prognostication record is woeful, but I'd expect to see Woods at Augusta and be knocked over by the collective sigh of relief. Remember, "Time wounds all heels." In the meantime, with the minor exception of Mickelson, don't rely on "casual" golf fans to fill advertiser's coffers during the Woods void. With typical TV ratings down 50% during a Woodsless tournament, the fact that many remotes are clicked just for the star power, not the golf, is proven. Still, the core demographic of "serious golfers" is an attractive one, just anticipate a shrinkage of the ten or so year gravy train that the pro golf behemoth has enjoyed. After all, why shouldn't they share some of the economic pain that the rest of us have enjoyed? Late in the year I'll have an eye on the Ryder Cup. On the slim chance that Woods is still meditating, the consequences will be worth following. Either way really it should be good theater.

Many have suggested that a Woodless stretch is the opportunity for the Tour to promote it's lesser known stars. Great in theory, tough in practice. I for one doubt I'll use some precious downtime to tune in a Streelman/Thompson duel at the Northern trust Open, regardless of how scintillating. the possible hope is for some recognized stars that haven't been ringing the cash register lately, (see Els, Garcia), to re-surge and prop up the Tour. that is a very large "remains to be seen". No doubt some younger guns, (see Kim, Fowler) will eventually take their place at the head of the class, I just think we're a few years away. Prove me wrong.


The fallout from the "Bivens Bounce" has turned out to be as well as could be expected under the circumstances for the ladies. This was a tour on the verge of collapse. In 2010 they will offer 24 tournaments with 11 being played on foreign soil. I reckon it's a credit to them for the salvage operation. The LPGA is a niche sport within a niche sport. The average golf viewing fan is male. The average male will usually watch men play golf. After a 5+ hour sit down watching a men's event his appetite for golf is satisfied. That's it. That's why virtually no one watches women's golf. The LPGA is wise to embrace a global strategy. That's where the game is growing. Arguing about losing the game to foreigners is like splitting hairs on a gnat's behind. Before long the only thing "American" about women's golf will be the Tour's mailing address and that's not a bad thing. Before you lose all hope however, there is a scenario that would prop up parochial interest. Michelle Wie continuing to win is the Tiger Woods effect for the ladies. Oh sure, a Creamer or Kerr victory helps, but nobody has the star power of Wie. So, you want a comeback of American women's golf? Root for Wie.

Suffice it to say that 2010 will be the LPGA's survival year. Much of their future will be predicated on 2010 results. Network and cable contracts, (Sorry about that Golf Channel), will be decided on the noise they make in 2010. Perhaps they should schedule an annual Solheim Cup. Expect a scaled down LPGA for the foreseeable future and see if Wie can inject some new found excitement and interest.

In the coming days I'll comment on 2010's effect of your personal game.

Til' next,

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Tiger Woods Shuts It Down "Indefinitely"

Who could have predicted just a few short weeks ago that anything other than injury could keep Tiger Woods off the golf course? If you had that kind of insight you'd have gotten serious Vegas odds or been labeled a crackpot.

"After much soul searching, I have decided to take an indefinite break from professional golf. I need to focus my attention on being a better husband, father, and person."

Those are the words from Woods' website announcing the stunner. You'd be hard pressed to argue with his reasons given recent events. I'm sure Tim Finchem may need a little Ambien himself to get to sleep after this bit of news. Viewership is known to drop as much as 50% in Tour events when Woods isn't entered. With a dearth of sponsors waiting in the wings and effort required to keep the ones they have, Tour officials must be squirming. I suppose the only "grey" lining in the cloud was Woods' use of the words "indefinite break" rather than "retiring".

So now the "Woods Watch" will begin as already massive speculation about Woods in general will spill over to speculation about his return. With Augusta, Pebble Beach, and St. Andrews on the major schedule in 2K10, scenes of some of his largest victories, Woods ended up with a tough year to take a pit stop. This Average Golfer will find his interest level in men's pro golf squashed some without the world's best player in the field. Imagine if the Yankees decided to sit next year out. Tiger's personal decisions sure have affected a ton of folks, the extent of which remains to be seen. Pro golf tour desperately seeking meal ticket.

Til' next,

Friday, December 4, 2009

Tiger Woods - Post Mortem

Tiger Woods To Wed Swedish Ex-model Elin
Easy now, not that "post-mortem". This Average Golfer has decided that the Tiger Woods saga has played itself out to a sad conclusion. I'll leave it to other media outlets to continue the rubber-necking and perpetuate the melodrama. The human carnage in my humble opinion is equated with Tiger's wife Elin and their two children. They are the unfortunate victims of the recently revealed events. One only hopes that they can emerge relatively unscathed regardless of Mr. Woods' actions.

Average Golfer will of course continue to chronicle Woods' on-course exploits and follow his chase toward statistical immortality. Everything else has collapsed under a veil of lies. Not trying to be judgmental here, merely adjusting to a changed reality. Though I'd hoped so, Woods is no Palmer or Nicklaus, not even close. It doesn't label him evil, just disappointing. Still, I wish him and his family the best of fortune in salvaging what really matters. Golf be damned.

Til' next,

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tiger Woods - This Much Is True

2009 Australian Masters - Day 4
Rampant speculation. Plausible deniability. The Tiger Woods saga has reached dizzying heights. History will tell us though that this too shall pass. Perhaps a credibility dent to be suffered by Tiger, but no knock down blows. We're talking about golf here, not international politics or nuclear capabilities. Of course the "press" will continue to feed like Doberman on a t-bone, but they would regardless of the purported facts. Time heals all wounds and the timing on this one was sort of kind to Woods. Aside from missing his personal tournament he has at least a two month layoff before his expected return in 2010 at Torrey Pines.

Will there be ramifications? Oh, probably. Woods' march toward billionairedom could be delayed, but I doubt you'll see him asking for stimulus money any time soon. Sure his marketability may suffer with a public that's more concerned with what Britney Spears had for lunch than what sort of job the President is doing, but that's a reflection of where we are as a society. Will his marriage survive? Who the hell knows? Crap, half of the marriages in this country don't survive, including mine. Will he pass Jack's major total? Sheer time and numbers say yes, but until it happens it hasn't happened. Strife and turmoil in one's private life doesn't typically translate into golf excellence, but he made his bed.... When one strives to attain the seemingly unattainable and embraces the spotlight along the way, embracing as well untold riches, it's not enough to just say you're going to take your ball and go home when the game gets a little nasty. For that he deserves a slap on the trust meter.

This much is true.......... After a warm up event or two, or three, Tiger Woods, barring injury, will make his way to Augusta in the spring of 2010 to continue his pursuit and practice his craft. I'll watch and so will you. Anything that happens between now and then is irrelevant in the golf world in the opinion of this Average Golfer.

Til' next,