The literal shine of the Olympic Golf medal ceremonies has worn off...enter the World Golf Championship this past weekend in Memphis.
The World Golf Championships were the brainchild of Tim Finchem, who, ahem, borrowed the idea from Greg Norman’s idea of a World Golf Tour (WGT) in the mid-1990s.
The plan was for a large group of high profile, global golf tournaments that brought the leading golfers on different tours together more regularly.
- Norman recognized the globalization of golf, proposed the WGT
- World’s top 30 playing eight select, non-PGA Tour sanctioned events
- large, guaranteed purses, heavily backed by network broadcast partner FOX
As imagined, this was as popular as a fart in a spacesuit with PGA Tour brass (not unlike the stink caused by the proposed Super League Golf)
In response, Finchem threatened to punish players participating in any World Golf Tour events, again, similar to the response to the Super League Golf. In the wake of this dust-up, the PGA Tour proposed with the idea of the WGCs in 1997, commencing in 1999:
- No cuts, substantial guaranteed paydays
- Small, elite field based mostly on Official World Golf Rankings
- Winnings count on PGA and European Tours, awarded OWGR points
- Initially comprised of 4 events: Championship, Match Play, Invitation and World Cup
- Recent events consist of: Championship, Match Play, Invitational and Champions
Sounds similar to the World Golf Tour, huh? If you listen hard enough, you can probably hear Greg Norman still grinding his teeth in anger over this.
Initially most, if not all WGC events were played on American soil, thus they were as “worldy” as the World Series in reality.
- Recently events have been played in America, China and Mexico
- PGA Tour schedule change has only two WGC events (Match Play, Champions)
- Three co-sanctioned events with European Tour
In spite of all pissing contests along the way, the overall point behind the WGT/WGC events was to bring a broader, global reach to the game. Mission Accomplished.
Just don’t expect Greg Norman to invite Tim Finchem over to his new house in Palm Beach, unless it is for a heated game of South Park’s version of Roshambo.