Does the PGA Tour really think bigger pay packets make golf more exciting?
What do you watch on a Sunday night? Do you always have the golf on, or do you – like me – prefer Peaky Blinders?
There seems to be a lot of people in my boat judging by the feedback golf coverage receives on Twitter. So, what is the PGA Tour doing to entice us, the golfers they rely on for their broadcast rights deals, to tune in every week?
Investing in the TV product? Creating stories and drama we can follow? Broadcasting an innovative and exciting spectacle? Visiting golf courses which are fascinating? Telling us how great it is that the second placed player at The Players earned the sixth biggest cheque in tour history – that’s the one.
While the money is astronomical, Cameron Smith earned $3.6m dollars with his win at The Players, it doesn’t excite me. Sure, it’s cool, but it didn’t make me watch the final round. Seeing the best players in the world tackle the par three 17th at TPC Sawgrass in the wind did get my attention. So does watching golf on interesting courses or ones with great history – the majors and events at Riviera and Pebble Beach are good examples. The money on offer doesn’t matter to me – I’d rather watch great golf on a spectacular course with nothing at stake.
Star power is a huge part of the equation too. That’s why we watch the majors, when we know we’ll see the best players.
So what can the PGA Tour do to make me watch its tournaments week-in and week-out?
The new Netflix series, being produced by the team behind the sensational F1 series Drive to Survive, will surely create more star power. Giving storytellers the space to delve into the people in golf, rather than just their swings and shots, will surely give us characters to follow. Just watch Drive to Survive – I bet you’ll soon have a favourite driver and team principal.
Letting drama and tension between the players play out would help too. Build it up and pair them together. The PGA Tour needs to do more to show us why we should care about the guy in 12th place beating the one in 13th.
Their effort with the Korn Ferry Tour-based series One Shot Away on YouTube – which starred Darlington’s Callum Tarren – was a good start. More of that kind of storytelling please.
Sports thrive on drama, the dynamics between competitors, and the stories that can then be told. That’s what carries a viewer through a long season. I hope to see some more of it in the near future, and to be inspired to watch more golf on TV.