Non-stop European Tour schedule is overkill
Monday, November 1, 2010
I’ve been conducting a secret poll for the last year or so among the guys with whom I regularly play golf. My findings confirm what I’ve long suspected – there are too many tournaments on the European and PGA Tour circuits.
My poll isn’t exactly scientific. All I do every time I play is ask one of my playing companions if he knows which event is being played in Europe that particular week. Sometimes I sneak in a question about the event being played on the PGA Tour.
Most times they can’t name the tournaments being played. Unless the event is being held in England, or happens to be one of the majors, they can’t tell one tournament from the next.
I know how they feel.
This week’s Castello Masters in Valencia, Spain is the 44th tournament on this year’s European Tour international schedule. And there are still five events to go before the season ends.
Talk about overkill.
The European Tour’s philosophy certainly isn’t less is more.
I’m supposed keep up on what’s happening on the European Tour, but sometimes struggle to remember who won what. The question I often dread is the one that goes….What was the name of the tournament so and so won a few weeks ago?
That’s my cue to start panicking. I’d sooner face a rules query than this conundrum.
I’m not alone. I had a conversation today with a British golf commentator who admitted he finds it hard to get enthused about many of the tournaments he covers.
The European Tour isn’t the only professional tour guilty of oversupply. The PGA Tour is, too.
And no sooner has the funfair stopped turning than it gets cranked up again. Seasons blend into seasons with little demarcation between one year and the next.
It wasn’t too long ago that there was a three-day gap between European Tour seasons. This year Europe’s professionals get a longer rest. Now there’s a 10-day break for European Tour pros to catch their breath before embarking on the 2011 campaign.
How they can get up the enthusiasm is beyond me.
Of course, there are winners in this virtual 52-week season. It does give lesser players a chance. Since the top boys only play about 15 times, it lets those further down the rankings play in weak fields. The European Tour would argue this helps breed new stars. I thought that’s what the Challenge Tour was for.
The majors also benefit, since they stand out from the amorphous mass.
Bottom line is there’s just too much golf. You don’t have to have a PhD in economics to understand oversupply does not breed demand. Just the opposite.
I’d love to get back to the days when there was a bona fide off-season, back when the European Tour took four months off. When less was more. Maybe then fans would take more of an interest in what’s happening on the professional circuits.