September 27, 2020- by Steven E. Greer
The 2020 golf season managed to salvage the major championships except for the British Open. The highly disrupted schedule changed the paradigm of professional golf and exposed flaws in the old system.
Random chaos is often the best way to make progress. What good has come from this pandemic golf schedule?
I have long argued that golf should be a summer and fall sport. In most parts of the country, springtime is simply too cold and wet to play. Even in the south, the courses are still brown and ugly.
This year, my experiment was tested with the major tournament dates being pushed backs. I would argue that the U.S. Open, PGA Championship, and Tour Championship were some of the most enjoyable to watch in a long time, and fans were not even allowed in.
I believe there is a strong appetite for the major tournaments to be played in the Fall. The main reason they have not been played later in the season is the almighty NFL schedule. Well, the popularity of the NFL is way down. People would rather watch the Masters in November than a meaningless NFL game.
This new season also showed us how TV broadcasting of golf can be better. It started with the exhibition match of Tom Brady, Tiger Woods, Eli Manning, and Phil Mickelson. The on-course announcer was Justin Thomas, and he did a great job. Mic’d up Tom Brady was fascinating too.
Currently, TV golf is unbearable to watch for me. The announcers have annoying curmudgeon voices and are taught to kill time with inane comments. Nobody wants to hear that. Fans want to hear straight from the golfers.
Hopefully, this season will give the governing bodies and TV executives a lot of ideas. Should the NCAA change its season into the summer and fall too? Is September a better time to play golf in the cool, low-humidity, weather of the Northeast and Midwest? Would the wetter Spring conditions in the UK be better for the British Open? What about December and January for regular tour events? There is a huge void in TV content from later December into January.