Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Anderson Match Play - Great for golfers - bad for ratings

So there you have it. Toms crushes DiMarco in a non-match of equals. Was the respite from Medal (stroke) play competition good for you?

For those of us who play AT golf as amateurs, most of our competitions involve match play. As such, match play competitions like this event, along with the Ryder and Presitent's Cups are perhaps the most entertaining format to watch. I know most of my golfing addicted buddies agree. But for broadcasters and the uninitiated viewing public it can be a monumental failure.

Much of professional golf used to be in match play format. I am currently reading Hogan by James Dobson and many of the tournaments on the early tour were match play events, including several four ball (better ball) tournaments. However, I cannot help but think that the TV networks had a big hand in snuffing them out. The risk in match play events is that the finalists will not feature marquee names and ratings suffer as a result. Is TV about anything other than ratings? Medal format events guarantee a leaderboard with at least SOME marquee names in contention on Sunday. Hello ratings!

I don't know what the ratings were, but I can only imagine that ABC did poorly on Sunday. To the uninitiated, watching Toms wallop DiMarco may have been as boring as watching Poa grow faster than Bent. To be sure, had the final featured Woods vs. Mickelson we might have seen one of the greatest ratings bonanzas of all time.

But let's be honest here - Tom's was the best player in the world...last week. He was unearthly and he admitted it. He got in the zone and miraculously stayed there for 126 holes - almost unimaginable, but clearly commendable. I think I have made it to three holes in my lifetime and I am an eight handicap!

Let's take our hats off to Toms who is a wonderful talent. I'll be interested to see if he can keep it going in Miami at Doral. I hope for his sake he does. And for the uninitiated - a welcome return to the Sunday rush!

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