UBS Warburg Cup
The inaugural UBS Warburg Cup was like Spam. We were a bit leery of its ingredients, but in the end it left a surprisingly pleasant aftertaste.
Basically a pickup game with a Ryder Cup format, the Warburg worked because its curious mix of six over-50 seniors and six fortysomethings on each team produced a cliffhanger finish-won 12�-11� by the U.S. over the ROW (Rest of the World)—and because match play is golf's most dramatic and telegenic format. This cup also enjoyed the reflected glory of the Ocean course at Kiawah Island, S.C., the site of the War by the Shore, the most intense Ryder Cup ever, 10 years ago.
Nonetheless, if the Warburg is going to prosper in the crowded Silly Season, it will have to make changes for next year. Here are my suggestions.
Spice up the team names: Why not drop the ROW and go with The Other Guys (TOG), Those Foreign Bastards (TFB) or, simply, Them? At least pick a name that sounds like a rivalry: Good versus Evil, Yankees versus Red Sox...something.
Attract better players: Who knew Isao Aoki was still alive? For that matter, who knew Denis Durnian or Ian Stanley had ever been born? The ROWs desperately needed star power, which Greg Norman, Nick Price or even Seve Ballesteros could have provided. Also, what happened to Senior tour stars like Bruce Fleisher and Allen Doyle?
Keep the captains on the sidelines: Arnold Palmer chopped broccoli for the first two days. ROW captain Gary Player fared even worse in the singles match between the two. Palmer had nine bogeys but still beat Player like a drum, finishing him off at 17 Their match was as mesmerizing as a car wreck.
Find some fans: The Warburg limited ticket sales and drew only about 4,000 people a day, giving the matches the festive atmosphere of, say, a bad Senior tour stop. Maybe last Saturday's Clemson-South Carolina game had something to do with the sparse attendance, or perhaps it was the $185 price of a ticket for the week. Or maybe it was the name. "Who's Warburg?" was a common refrain on Kiawah Island. Warburg is actually a financial-services company, but don't tell drat to the fans. Just tell them that this Warburg guy will bend the age rule and bring Tiger Woods next year.
Q School Second Stage
The Hero and the Zero
High school junior Ty Tryon won't be going to college, but he is headed where four-time Georgia Tech All-America Bryce Molder isn't: the final stage of the PGA Tour qualifying tournament. That was the good news and the bad news from me PGA Tour Q school's second stage, which has become professional golfs most feared event because a player's score for four days determines whether he will have a place to play the following year. "If you don't get your card at the next stage, at least you've got an automatic spot on the Buy.com tour," says 20-year tour veteran Tommy Armour III, who was the medalist last week at Hombre Golf Club in Panama City Beach, Fla. "If you don't make it here, you've got nothing."