I’m occasionally privy to some of the logistical problems that go on behind the scenes at Australia’s big two golf tournaments.
If everyone knew the details of some of the issues including tournament scheduling, sponsorship, and golfer appearance fees there would be a lot more sympathy for the battles Australian Open and Australian PGA Championship organisers face to gather a strong field every year.
You only have to see where the once prestigious Australian Masters is now to catch a glimpse of the problems facing professional tournament golf in Australia.
A few weeks ago I asked Golf Australia Media Manager, Mark Hayes about his excitement for next year’s Australian Open in Sydney given it will be played the week before the Presidents Cup in Melbourne.
Last time this occurred in 2011, it resulted in perhaps the best Australian Open field in many decades. The likes of Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson, David Toms, Nick Watney, Fred Couples and Bubba Watson graced the fairways of the The Lakes GC before making their way down to Melbourne for the Presidents Cup a week later.
So it came as a surprise when Hayes shook his head and grumbled something about Tiger Woods.
Hayes has now expanded in the incredibly selfish situation the PGA Tour have put themselves in, scheduling Woods’ Hero World Challenge tournament in The Bahamas (featuring an invited field of 18 players) the week before the Presidents Cup in Melbourne.
Woods will be in Melbourne on Thursday to promote The Presidents Cup. This could get interesting.
A couple of excerpts:
The US PGA Tour, which does not officially sanction Woods’ event, but happily plonks it on its official website’s tournament schedule, is the chief organiser of the Presidents Cup.
What it also has, courtesy of a major reshuffle, is several newly clear weeks with its 2018-19 schedule to finish in late August, a month in advance of previous years.
Which naturally begs the question: Tiger, can you not please move your tournament into another week?
Nobody outside the inner circle of upper echelon, “needle-moving” players and their managers ever seems to speak bluntly on such matters, instead trotting out tired company lines about crowded calendars and reasons why these stars cannot make tournaments outside North America, not to mention appearance money.
Which means the US PGA Tour, which speaks regularly about the lasting local legacy of events such as the Presidents Cup, will seemingly do nothing about helping to grow the two remaining large-scale and historic events on Australian soil.
Well how about it, Tiger and company? What are you going to do about Australian golf’s potential moment in the sun being eclipsed – again?
Will you let money and American corporates dictate your actions?
Do yourself a favour and go and read Mark Hayes’ full piece over at Golf Australia.
Warning: It may make you angry.