Dear PGA Tour: Just stop with the marquee pairings

The Scoop

Why the Tiger-Phil effect spoils it for everyone else, Bryson being Bryson, and Poulter's not-so-sneaky plans. It's all in The Slam

Hello. Welcome to this week’s edition of The Slam.

I’m going to start with this because it’s my favourite story of the week.

Now we all know practice rounds can be a bit of a non-event. All the players are generally just going through the motions, dropping a few balls around the green, hitting a few putts from different areas and sharing rubbish banter with their playing partners.

Not Bryson DeChambeau, who we all know loves nothing more than to take the scientific approach to the game.

And playing a practice round with Tiger Woods at The Players, DeChambeau casually drops a Trackman in the middle of the fairway on one hole…

Because where better to study attack angle, face to path, and all the other things that it measures that only DeChambeau and approximately three other people on the planet understand?

Misfit pairings

Now, you may have seen the PGA Tour threw together a few high-profile groups at Sawgrass.

Woods, Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler was the main one, closely followed by and a Jordan Spieth-Rory McIlroy-Justin Thomas trio.

It happens all the time. And I get why it happens – megastar groupings sell tickets, increase hype, and, of course, get people tuning in.

But does it really work outside of this short-term business plan? I don’t think so.

From a fan perspective at the event it must be awful. Look at this, for example…

From a viewer perspective it’s always an anti-climax. In fact, the Woods-Mickelson-Fowler threeball combined finished day one a whopping 9 over par.

And for lesser-known players, when you see the big names in the field, it must be like being a non-league team in the FA Cup third-round draw – only to see Manchester United get Liverpool. Spread the love, give these guys their spot in the limelight.

And finally, I want to watch Tiger and Rory or Jordan and JT go toe-to-toe down the stretch on Sunday afternoon, not flumping it around with each other on Thursday morning. These groupings need to be earned, not planned.

Project Paris

Ian Poulter is at The Players this week before he relocates to Europe for the summer.

Poults will head over for the BMW PGA Championship and Italian Open before popping back to New York for the US Open. Then he’s off to Paris for the French Open and will likely play one of the Irish or Scottish Opens before the third major of the year at Carnoustie.

And what do the BMW PGA, Italian, French, Irish and Scottish have in common? They’re all part of the European Tour’s Rolex Series and carry extra Ryder Cup points.

We see what you’re doing there, Ian.

And, hey, if you get to Le Golf National in September on the back of good form then there is no one we’d rather have in the team.

And you’re the last person the US want to see on that 1st tee in Paris with a club in his hand…

Recommended in The Slam

Previous article
Next article
Top