Sports Outside the Beltway

Will ESPN’s Bob Harig please pick up the red courtesy phone

It didn’t take long at all for golf writer in 2010 to offer up a bad already tried idea. Harig writes-

To help, perhaps a new format for the season-opening tournament — whether it is in Hawaii or elsewhere — is in order. Does any sport have a meeker opening than golf? A winners-only event sounds fine, but just 28 players are in Hawaii this week.

Maybe one of the World Golf Championship events could kick off the season.

This has been done already.

January 8, 2001

Melbourne, Australia — Steve Stricker needed a lot of help to win the Match Play Championship, but not from anyone he played.

Three days before Christmas, Stricker was No. 90 in the world rankings and preparing to start his season next week in Tucson, Ariz., at a second-tier PGA Tour event. He wound up in Australia at a $5 million World Golf Championship event when Tiger Woods, David Duval and two dozen other top players decided against a trip halfway around the world.

So Hariq doesn’t just propose an idea that’s been tried already but one that was a abysmal failure as top ranked players skipped the tournament in droves. Remember only the top 64 go to the match play tournament. At least 26 players(and I think the actual total was in the low 30′s) skipped a WGC event when it was the season opener. Brilliant idea, let’s do it again. NOT!

Harig did say the tournament would be mandatory. Aren’t players independent contractors? If a healthy Woods or Mickelson says no, can the tour keep other players from bailing too?

Do note- Only 3 players are skipping this week’s season opener, the SBS Championship.

If Hariq picks up his call, I’d suggest he take he take some remedial lessons in golf history.

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