No doubt, last week's Deutsche Bank event was a thriller, anytime you have the two most popular players on tour duking it out Mano-a-Mano, it's gonna bring drama.
That's the problem.
Thanks in part to the Fed Ex Cup, the PGA is creating a situation where they are conditioning the golf fan to be interested only when there is a lot riding on the line (vis-a-vis Majors), or when Phil or Tiger play each other.
Take this week's BMW event...it was reported that less than 200 fans lined up to see Tiger tee it up Thursday, and with the combination of rain impacting the event...and Phil not playing...the BMW is looking more like The Ramblin' Wreck of Georgia Tech, instead of the show-stopper it was intended to be.
It's not that golf fans don't love golf, it's that the PGA is undermining their own popularity by giving the fans a reason that they have the power to prioritize what they watch (can you say hello football).
It's the reason baseball and football Unions have leverage. Unions know that if the players go on strike, fans will figure out new ways to occupy their time, and lose focus of the implied importance of every game. It makes it that much harder for team owners to recapture the audience.
So the PGA is left with this huge problem, and really no way out of it. It will mean a lot less money to fringe events (50% of next years' tournaments), and a lot more money to whatever event is on Tiger's schedule (with the implied guessing-game that Phil will be there too). The imminent danger is that the PGA is losing it's brand image, and it is becoming a bunch of individual brands (think NFL, and how they go to unbelievable lengths to protect its brand so the name is larger than the players). The PGA needs to look at all the problems the NFL players have had this year, and it won't even touch the NFL brand. It's masterful.
One tournament that is going to reap absolutely gargantuan rewards from this PGA gaffe, is next weeks Tour Championship in Atlanta. That event will be the most watched, most talked about, most exciting tournament this year. Thanks to last week's taste the fans were given of that Tiger/Phil duel, The Tour Championship will be pulling out all the stops to showcase its premier match-up.
The events big sponsor Coca Cola, will get a muche deserved redemption from last years' abrupt pullout of Tiger.
Coke's new ad campaign is all about the consumer getting rewarded from buying coke products.
But next week Coke will get rewarded...and, as the vintage ad goes: in perfect harmony.
Thanks for reading. Keep it in the short-grass,