Shane Bacon: 10 Things to Change in Pro Golf
This week, Yahoo Sports golf blogger Shane Bacon published a list of ten things he'd like to see change in professional golf. Any -- if not all -- of his list items would be fantastic to see, but I thought I would throw my two cents in as well. Using Bacon's list as a guide, here are ten things I'd also like to see change in pro golf.
Walking rules officials in each group -- I agree with Shane on this one. Having a rules official with every group in a tournament would not only eliminate controversial rulings on the course, but it would also add an element sorely missing from the game: consistency in rule enforcement.
FedExCup Match Play -- This is something I've been telling anyone who would listen for years, so I'm happy to see Shane agrees. The current FedExCup Playoffs structure is boring and flawed. When I think "playoffs", I think "brackets", and when I think "brackets" in golf, I think "match play".
I don't care if there are WGC events, the Ryder Cup, the Presidents Cup and whatever else. Bring match play to the FedEx.
Hold an LPGA event at Augusta National -- This idea might be crazy enough to work. Honestly, I don't think we'll ever see a female golf tournament at the home of the Masters, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't bug the piss out of Augusta National until it happens. I'll lead the charge.
Force big names to play in team events -- I'm not sure how I feel about this suggestion (mandate guys like Tiger, Phil, and other big-timers play in the Ryder Cup and President's Cup), because I really don't see this becoming an issue. Sponsors have a lot more to say than we may think when it comes to who plays where, so that's that.
Instead, I would like a rule where only the top 3-5 point leaders automatically get a spot on the team. Qualifiers -- not captains -- would then get to "draft" the rest of the players from the entire pool of competitors to fill up both teams.
Laser flagsticks? -- This idea is ridiculous... and I love it. As Bacon points out in his piece, if the US Open can have wicker baskets on poles, then other tournaments can have hologram flagsticks. Let's make it happen.
Alright, here are a few additions of my own:
Keep the PGA Championship in the United States -- There has been talk of future PGA Championships being held overseas, and it makes absolutely no sense to me. Globalizing the game can be done in numerous ways, but none of them should include shipping off a major championship to "force" the issue. PGA President Ted Bishop needs to make an announcement that his tournament is staying home, and that's it.
Match Play Championship for long drive athletes -- Why the hell not? These behemoths who pound 400+-yard drives are actually decent golfers in their own right, and who wouldn't love to see these guys tear apart a golf course head-to-head? If it makes golf traditionalists happier, hold the event in December instead of the Wendy's 3 Tour Challenge. That event sucks anyway.
Make Drug Testing as transparent as possible -- I don't care how this happens, but we need to make PGA Tour and Euro Tour drug testing loud, transparent and as public as possible right now. This is the only way to keep our sport from turning into a comical sideshow saturated with assumptions and accusations (see: Major League Baseball).
Allow cameras at every tournament -- I get it; pro golfers don't like swinging clubs amid a wave of shutter clicks and flash bulbs. But if these guys can do exactly that during a practice round with seemingly no issue, why can't we just allow it full-time? Marshals wouldn't have to throw people out, phones wouldn't get confiscated, and golf spectators would be treated the same way as those at other major sporting events.
Abolish the wraparound schedule idea -- This is a brand-new feature of the PGA Tour schedule this season, but that doesn't mean it makes any sense. Players shouldn't be asked to play golf year-round for FedExCup or world ranking points. They deserve an offseason, just like every other pro athlete.