The real business of golf concludes for the year at this week's LPGA Arch Wireless Championship in Daytona Beach, Fla. Now it's time for the Silly Season, a dozen exhibitions for fun and funny money played over seven weeks. Here's how I rank the events.
1. Williams World Challenge, Nov. 30-Dec. 3, Sherwood Country Club, Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Purse: $3.5 million (winner, $1 million). Tiger Woods hosts the 11 next-best available golfers on the World Ranking, who play for a Silly Season-high purse. A bona fide four-round tournament, the Williams is the new bully on the block.
2. Office Depot Father and Son, Dec. 9-10, Ocean Club, Paradise Island, Bahamas.
Purse: $860,000 ($150,000). This is one of the pros' favorite events. Big-name players such as Billy Casper, Raymond Floyd, Hale Irwin, Gary Player and Lee Trevino cavort in a feel-good family atmosphere. Last year Jack and Gary Nicklaus won. This year Jack will partner with Jack II.
3. Skins Game, Nov. 25-26, Landmark Golf Club, Indian Wells, Calif.
Purse: $1 million. The Skins has lost its fastball, but this granddaddy of the Silly Season has history on its side. This year's edition features Fred (Mr. November) Couples, Sergio Garc�a, Colin Montgomerie—putting a mike on Monty sounds like fun—and Vijay Singh.
4. PGA Grand Slam of Golf, Nov. 21-22, Poipu Bay Golf Course, Kauai, Hawaii.
Purse: $1 million ($400,000). Woods is always worth watching, and having him wired for ear-singeing sound is a bonus. The Slam would've been better had it been an extenuation of the Presidents Cup grudge match between Woods and Singh, the other major winner in the field. Instead we'll see a foursome that includes gate-crashers Paul Azinger and Tom Lehman.
5. Wendy's Three-Tour Challenge, Dec. 23-24, Lake Las Vegas Resort, Henderson, Nev.
Purse: $800,000. The LPGA players always have a lot to prove against the menfolk from the PGA and Senior tours. Perhaps because they try too hard, the women—this year Juli Inkster, Dottie Pepper and Karrie Webb—have won only once in eight attempts.
6. Franklin Templeton Shootout, Nov. 17-19, Doral Resort and Spa, Miami.
Purse: $1.75 million ($400,000, team). You want to see pros go low? This is the place. In 1990 Fred Couples and Ray Floyd teamed for one of the best rounds of all time in modified alternate shot format, an unreal 57
7. EMC World Cup, Dec. 7-10, Buenos Aires Golf Club, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Purse: $3 million ($1 million, team). This team medal-play event is an unnecessary appendage to the already faltering World Golf Championship series. Let's see, the top-ranked player from every country gets to pick his partner. Hmmm, sounds like another good reason to suck up to Tiger.
8. Hyundai Team Matches, Dec. 16-17, Pelican Hill Golf Club, Newport Beach, Calif.
Purse: $1.2 million ($200,000, team). The event features four two-person teams each from the LPGA, PGA and Senior tours. Inkster-Pepper have dominated the LPGA division, while Nicklaus-Tom Watson won the Senior division last year. There are some grudge-match possibilities, especially if Annika Sorenstam is pitted against an American.
9. Chrysler Senior Match Play Challenge, Nov. 10-13, Hyatt Dorado Beach, Dorado, Puerto Rico.
Purse: $720,000 ($120,000). Lots of showdowns between match-play masters like Floyd and Irwin were expected, but the 16th seed, Vicente Fernandez, wound up beating No. 10, Leonard Thompson, in last week's final.