BY Michael Urann
The World Cup of Golf lacks some of (ok, all of) the gusto of it’s futbol counterpart.
So when Matt Kuchar said in a Australian Masters news conference that he believes a true world tour – from the Greg Norman idea that Tim Finchem outright stole – will come to pass during his playing days, only a few fans of the new wraparound tour schedule noticed.
The idea is almost laughable considering Kuchar’s partner for the World Cup, which features a purse of $8 million, is Kevin Streelman. Yes, the 20th ranked American in the world was the highest-ranked player Kuchar could convince to partner with him at one of the world’s great golf courses, Royal Melbourne. So it seems far-fetched that a 52-week World Tour could attract even a modicum of the world’s best players regularly when the Tour’s best players are only playing 15-25 weeks each year.
RELATED: What a global tour might look like
However, it does pique the interest of a keen golf observer as to which of the current tournaments on every tour would survive a merger of all their current incarnations. It’s guesswork for sure but taking tradition, financial obligations and, most importantly, travel into consideration, it’s plausible to generate a realistic schedule that will, despite Kuchar’s sentiment, probably never happen.
Some ground rules for a World Tour schedule:
1) Travel is paramount. If possible there should never be less than four tournaments in a row played in a region. Attracting top players for one week and 5,000-plus mile travel is unrealistic.
2) Seasons must be considered. Even if we wanted to move the Masters to June, Augusta National closes it’s guard gate a few weeks after the green jacket ceremony until October. And you clearly can’t play the Scandinavian Masters in December unless you want to use orange balls and sled dogs as caddies.
3) Having the game played on every continent is important. There can be opposite-field events on different continents or in different time zones but the most year-end points must be awarded to the main field events to justify their existence.
4) We’re keeping a playoff format since both the PGA and European Tours are currently using one. Again, the only stipulation is that the World Tour events must have at least 150 percent the available points as opposite field events.
5) Because of the issue of seasons, a wraparound schedule is mandatory (unfortunately).
6) For the hell of it, the week after the PGA Championship and before the first playoff event, we’re putting on a two night Skills Challenge for network TV. Who wouldn’t want to see long drive, putting, short game and accuracy contests in primetime with the world’s best players? This location on the calendar is a welcome respite after the PGA and allows a weekend break before the playoffs (encouraging players to play all playoff events). Golf has to have its All Star Game Home Run Derby. This is it.
7) The portion of the schedule between the Ryder Cup and November 1 is the time to grow the game in South America and/or other regions. No points will be awarded but at least two sponsored Tour events should take place there.
8) Finally, the PGA Championship will now become a wandering major. The region and the events around it depend on the region that it’s played in, including the first playoff event.
Without further adieu, this is how the schedule would look beginning January 1, 2014
|Jan. 9-12||Dubai Desert Classic||Mid East|
|Jan. 16-19||Abu Dhabu Championship||Mid East|
|Jan. 23-26||South African Open||Sunshine|
|Jan. 30-Feb. 2||Dunhill Links Championship (SA)||Sunshine|
|Feb. 6-9||Hawaiian Open||N. America|
|Feb. 13-16||Los Angeles Open||N. America|
|Feb. 20-23||Pebble Beach Pro Am||N. America|
|Feb. 27-March 2||Phoenix Open||N. America|
|March 6-9||THE PLAYERS||N. America|
|March 13-16||Byron Nelson Classic||N. America|
|March 20-23||Colonial Invitational||N. America|
|March 27-30||Doral Open||N. America|
|April 3-6||Arnold Palmer Classic||N. America|
|April 10-13||U.S. Masters||N. America|
|April 17-20||Match Play Championship||N. America|
|April 24-27||Portugese Open||Europe|
|May 1-4||Spanish Open||Europe|
|May 8-11||French Open||Europe|
|May 15-18||BMW Championship (UK)||Europe|
|May 22-25||Canadian Open||N. America|
|May 29-June 1||Quail Hollow Championship||N. America|
|June 5-8||The Memorial||N. America|
|June 12-15||U.S. Open||N. America|
|June 19-24||Wash D.C. Invitational (AT&T)||N. America|
|June 26-30||BMW International (DEUT)||Europe|
|July 3-6||Irish Open||Europe|
|July 10-13||Scottish Open||Europe|
|July 17-20||The OPEN Championsship||Europe|
|July 24-27||Scandanavian Masters||Europe|
|July 31-Aug 3||Dutch Open||Europe|
|Aug. 7-10||WGC (Formerly Firestone)||Same as PGA|
|Aug. 14-17||PGA Championship||Varous|
|Aug. 21-24||SKILLS CHALLENGE||Same as PGA|
|Aug. 28-31||PLAYOFF EVENT #1||Same as PGA|
|Sept. 4-7||Boston/NYC PLAYOFF EVENT #2||N. America|
|Sept. 11-14||Midwest/West Coast PLAYOFF EVENT #3||N. America|
|Sept. 18-21||The TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP||N. America|
|Oct. 2-5||Ryder Cup||Varies|
|Oct. 9-12||Dunhill Links (UK) — NO POINTS||Europe|
|Oct. 16-19||Argentina Open — NO POINTS||S. America|
|Oct. 23-26||Brazil Open — NO POINTS||S. America|
|Oct. 30-Nov. 2||Korean Open||Australasia|
|Nov. 6-9||Japanese Open||Australasia|
|Nov. 13-16||HSBC Champions China||Australasia|
|Nov. 20-23||Malaysian Open||Australasia|
|Nov. 27-30||Australian Masters||Australasia|
|Dec. 4-7||Australian PGA||Australasia|