The coronavirus relief golf match featuring Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks Tom Brady and Peyton Manning has been set for May 24 in Florida.
The PGA Tour of Australasia is a mess and in need of a complete overhaul.
Of 15 events, five are overseas and three more – held in Perth and South Oakleigh – are irregular.
That leaves just seven standard-format tournaments in Australia. Of these, just one is in a capital city, being Brisbane. New South Wales, Tasmania, ACT and South Australia get left out completely!
There needs to be more Australian courses and a longer tour season.
The following are 24 locations I would choose.
Capital cities: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra, Darwin, Hobart
Regional locations: Cairns, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Coffs Harbour, Newcastle, Central Coast, Wollongong, Geelong, Mornington Peninsula, Launceston, King Island
Overseas: Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Queenstown, Fiji
GolfSixes and now Blitz Golf have popped up as shorter formats of the game, but while shorter formats have been successful in cricket you shouldn’t allow ‘entertainment’ to distract from the actual sport.
Loud music and fireworks do not belong on a golf course.
Take road cycling as an example: the UCI WorldTour has stage races over multiple days, as well as one-day classic and criterium events, without the need for any gimmicks in the shorter formats. Cycling has managed to maintain its integrity because of this, unlike T20 cricket.
Golf could have a four-day match season, followed by a season for one or two-day events, and maybe even throw in a three-par event or two.
It would be simple to reduce a tournament to two rounds by having the cut after the first 18 holes and then just the one final round after that. Another possibility to consider would be having a promotion-relegation system with a smaller field so that you wouldn’t need a cut.
Another format could be multi-course events. Just think of Tasmania – you could start at Ocean Dunes, then go to Cape Wickham on King Island, and then to Barnbougle Dunes and Lost Farm. Tourists can do that as a package, but imagine that as a tournament.
Or how about combining Royal Melbourne, Huntingdale, Victoria, Metropolitan and Kingston Heath into a single ‘Sandbelt Cup’ over five rounds. How about that as a fifth major?
Combining these courses has already been done by Social Golf Australia in the Sandbelt Classic, I’ve just added Victoria as a fifth round to join the others.
Keeping up with other codes
The A-League, NRL, NBL, Super Netball and Cycling Australia NRS all have expansion plans, while the AFL want to take over the world with AFLX.
Golf Australia needs to get a move on and expand the PGA Tour of Australasia before golf gets left behind.
The American and European tours are in completely different timezones, while Asia holds little interest for Australian sports fans, going by crowds for the Asian Champions League. If they want to increase interest and participation, then Golf Australia need to expand the tour to give the sport greater visibility and coverage.
The Japan Golf Tour has 25 events, so why can’t Australia have a similar number – or more? There’s no reason why the Tour of Australasia can’t compete with the tours of Japan and Europe.
And Golf Australia should definitely make a big push to host a fifth major in Australia.