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Spare Change
February 13, 2006
A new schedule in 2007 is a sweet start, but why stop there?
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February 13, 2006

Spare Change

A new schedule in 2007 is a sweet start, but why stop there?

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Change is coming to the PGA Tour in 2007 in the form of a new schedule and the FedEx Cup playoff. The alterations are meant to entice marquee players to tee it up more often. But why stop there? If I were commissioner for a day, I'd consider these nine changes as well.

?Clock the duffers Any pro will tell you Wednesday is the worst day of the week: It's pro-am day. That means a 5 1/2-hour round with three hackers who paid thousands of dollars apiece to chop up the course. Institute a deadline. Teams get 4 1/2 hours after a shotgun start, and when the horn sounds, all play stops. I guarantee that every team will finish 18.

?Cut the duffers, too Even with a time deadline, Wednesdays would still suck, so take a page from the Wachovia Championship, which downsized its pro-am. Each Tour pro plays with only two amateurs, which is a more relaxing experience for all.

?Limit: one ball Frank Stranahan was famously asked to leave Augusta for the day because he played more than one ball during a practice round. Bring back the one-ball rule. You want to hit a small bucket from the greenside bunker? Do it on the practice green.

?Slice the Seniors Come '07 The Golf Channel could show the European tour in the morning, the Nationwide in early afternoon, the PGA in late afternoon and the Champions on tape-delay at night. Whoa! Time to rethink golf broadcasting. Start with the seniors. Edit them into a fast-paced, 90-minute package shown in the evening.

?Spread the wealth There's too much televised golf on Sunday, when many golf fans are out playing. Nationwide events aren't living off ticket sales, so start them on Saturdays and let The Golf Channel cover the heck out of their finishes on Mondays and Tuesdays.

?Show some leg Caddies were allowed to wear shorts and the world didn't end. Let the players wear them, too.

? Augusta passes The Reno-Tahoe Open (and every other second-tier Tour stop) would be a lot more interesting if the winner got an invitation to the Masters, as in days gone by.

?Get a bigger Cup The Ryder Cup is golf's best spectacle, but it's over in a hurried three days. Stretch the competition over four days, adding a team match in the first two rounds.

?Less match It's a TiVo world, man: A 36-hole final for the Accenture World Match Play Championship is 18 holes too many for time-pressed viewers. Make it 18, and if it ends early, show the match between the two guys playing for third.