Stark contrast in player depth at PGA Tour stop one week later

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Tiger WoodsThe top 50 in the World Golf Rankings, updated April 25, is made up of 15 Americans who are all active on the PGA Tour. Of the remaining 35 non-Americans, 20 are active on the PGA Tour. The remaining 15 are not active members of the PGA Tour. To be active on the PGA Tour you have to earn your playing credentials and commit to playing in 15 tournaments on the PGA Tour.

This week, the PGA Tour stop is the star-studded Quail Hollow Championship held at the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina. This event’s field has 8 of the 20 foreign golfers in the top 50 in the World Rankings. The purse for the tournament is $6,500,000. 

Of the 15 Americans in the top 50 World Rankings, 14 are entered.  I can only imagine their sky high TV ratings compared to last week in New Orleans. Steve Stricker (3rd-ranked golfer) was the only American not to enter due to his shoulder injury. Thank you, Steve, for making the effort to come to New Orleans. The same goes for Ian Poulter of England (6th-ranked); both had to withdraw from the Zurich Classic because of injuries and neither is in the Quail Hollow field.

Americans entered at Quail Hollow and their world ranking:

Tiger Woods # 1
Phil Mickelson # 2
Jim Furyk # 5
Anthony Kim # 10
Hunter Mahan # 18
Sean O’Hair # 21
Kenny Perry # 22
Stewart Cink # 25
Nick Watney # 27 (former winner in New Orleans who passed us up this year)
Dustin Johnson # 28
Lucas Glover # 29
Zach Johnson # 31
Matt Kuchar # 32
Kevin Na # 48
The Foreign members of the PGA Tour entered at Quail Hollow and their world ranking:
Padraig Harrington # 11
Camilo Villegas # 12
Rory McIlroy # 13
Geoff Ogilvy # 14
Robert Allenby # 17
Angel Cabrera # 33
Vijay Singh # 39 (former winner in New Orleans who passed us up this year)
Adam Scott # 42

In comparison, the Zurich Classic had a purse of $6,400,000, only $100,000 less than Quail Hollow, but had two foreign PGA Tour players with a top 50 World Ranking in the field (Sergio Garcia # 24 and K.J. Choi # 34 –former winner in New Orleans) following the late withdrawal by Poulter.

New Orleans had none of the 15 Americans in the top 50 World Rankings entered after Stricker has to withdraw.

As I mentioned in my last blog, the PGA Tour is broken. They wonder why they are losing sponsors and will lose more sponsors. The answer is clear. 

The PGA Tour players are living in the moment, and I don’t think they really care where the PGA Tour will be in fifteen to twenty years. Mind you, this tour has made them all millionaires. 

Thanks to Arnold Palmer, the players of today will have The Champions Tour waiting for them when they reach the age of 50. It was 30 years ago when Arnold Palmer really got what was then known as a senior tour up-and-running with his leadership as he turned 50. 

Today’s selective, self-serving activity is a sad legacy the present PGA Tour players are leaving. History will look back at this time period when the PGA Tour reached their peak before the decline.

Sure, it is easy to just point fingers at the work of designer Pete Dye at TPC Louisiana or tournament director Tommy Fonseca as reasons that New Orleans can’t bring in the top players. I certainly do not blame them, though.  The lack of leadership in Ponte Vedra at PGA Headquarters is the source of the problem. The people are living only in the moment and are being dictated to by the PGA Tour millionaires.

I may stand alone to voice my opinion but we need a PGA Tour event in New Orleans and have to start working now to let people know how we feel.  We need Zurich here in 2015 for the good of the game and the growth of golf in New Orleans.

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