Monday, July 27, 2009

As Buick goes away, Tiger comes back

Two items of interest surrounding the PGA Tour's Buick Open this week (if the rain-soaked Canadian Open ever ends):

-- This is apparently the end of the Buick Open after 51 years, a victim of GM's financial problems;

-- It's the first of three straight tournaments for Tiger Woods, who will follow the Buick by playing in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone and the PGA Championship at Hazeltine.

As for the Buick Open, it seemed inevitable that tournaments would suffer given the economic problems and now it's happening. According to reports, the PGA Tour has another sponsor waiting to take the spot on the schedule but it has to be disturbing news around the tour offices to see a long-time event expire.

The long-term question is how the tour will be impacted when it begins negotiating new television deals down the road. There have been suggestions that purses should be cut and I can see that happening, though reluctantly.

From an image standpoint, it might help the tour.

Commissioner Tim Finchem has already raised the notion of some future 'flex' scheduling with a few events, in an effort to get more players to play tournaments they might otherwise pass. It's just a concept, Finchem said, but it's an interesting one.

As for Tiger, this week immediately became more interesting when he entered (and, by the way, he no longer has ties to Buick so it's not a contractual thing). Obviously, he wasn't sharp at Turnberry and this looks like an effort to play himself back into form leading into the PGA.

It will be interesting to see how his season looks three weeks from now.