Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk, please take a hike. It’s 2011 and you are no longer needed. That is the message PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem conveyed in his final teleconference of 2010. Well to be fair, that wasn’t exactly what he said. It was more along the lines of:
I’ve never in my tenure seen so much buzz and interest about rookies and young players creating exciting performances.
Finchem continues to say the buzz has led the PGA Tour to believe they need to focus on that dynamic going into 2011:
Actually, it has led us to conclude that we really need to focus on that dynamic as we go into 2011, and it will be our primary promotional focus to get people to pay attention to how well the veterans continue to play, and the young stars, the competition between the newer generation and the more experienced and older players, we think makes for good theatre this year, and we are excited about that development.
Believe me, we are not going to stop seeing Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson in ads for the PGA Tour, but we can probably expect to see much more of Rickie Folwer, Dustin Johnson, and Jamie Lovemark more-and-more in advertising. It’s much easier to just feature Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, because they are the face of the PGA Tour. But the PGA Tour has to look long term, and these two mega-stars are probably on the down side of their career. Sure, Tiger will only be 36 later this month and Phil is 40, but as these guys get older over the next few years they are going to play less-and-less and they can’t get stuck with the casual golf fan not knowing who the up-and-comers are. Players like Rickie Fowler, Jamie Lovemark, Dustin Johnson and Hunter Mahan, are the ones who are going to be around for the next 10-12 years.
But just wait until Tiger Woods pulls off two or three victories next year, or Phil Mickelson comes back stronger than ever. Then we will see the young guns put on the back burner for a bit. Tiger and Phil are the ones who turn the ratings dials..