Jay Monahan was named the PGA Tour Commissioner in January 2016 and since he’s taken the helm it has been the same old same old for golf, golf fans and PGA tour players. Maybe it’s because Monahan served as head of the USTA for 26 years.
A quick note about the PGA tour and the tour commissioner.
The PGA tour is a non profit organization and basically a charity. By definition Jay Monahan is the executive director of a non-profit that benefits the organization itself, the tour and to some extent the PGA tour players.
It is not a for profit entity and in this regard the PGA tour commissioner is not necessarily trying to maximize profits for anyone.
Unlike the NFL and MLB which are comprised of teams and owners all trying to increase the value of their respective organizations and their sport.
While everyone may be singing the praises of Mr. Monahan, I’m not.
As PGA tour commissioner he’s been heralded as a maverick
Monahan was born in California and currently resides near Washington, D.C. What’s living in Washington D.C. have to do with golf? Why’s that make him a maverick? What’s he done? Purses are up but I contend they’re not nearly as high as they could be with some real leadership. We’ll get to that in just a bit.
Golf is a sport that has been around for hundreds of years, but many people have grown tired of the game. It can take hours to play and it’s not as exciting as some other sports.
The PGA could make the game more interesting by implementing these five changes:
Make More Noise
Allow the fans to make as much noise as they want. Who says we have to be quiet when watching golf? Ever been to a professional football game or a baseball game. I once went to a basketball game and rock concert broke out.
Let’s pump up the volume and the fun! The Waste Management Open has number 16 and it might be the most exciting hole in the world. It would be a great place to test out the extra noise.
Imagine a par three contest in Dodger stadium!
Align Players to Cities
Form professional teams just like other pro sports. Have them be affiliated with major cities and particular venues. Each week line up teams agains each other just like in college. You could still have the 4 major events, players championship and the FEDEX cup.
Fans would fall in love with their teams and their players and not miss out on any of the big tournaments. They could even come out and watch them at their local practice range.
Imagine the New York Playas battling the Florida Sharks at TPC on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and then everyone traveling to New York to see the same teams duke it out at Bethpage Black. Meanwhile all across the country events like this are taking place. Exciting.
More Events For More Money
If 30 cities have 10 man teams then you have 300 pro golfers making money instead of the 125 that make money each year. Here’s a sad statistic about professional golf or more importantly here’s a statistic that shows just how hard it is to make money as a professional golfer. The #644 all-time money winner on the PGA tour has made just over $19,000.
Professional Sports Business Model
There are 900 professional baseball players and over a 1000 professional football players with minimum salaries of $570,500 and $660,000 respectively. That means the lowest paid rookie in baseball and football would be at around 563 on the all time money list for golf. This is the all time list.
A pro baseball player plays 162 games in a year. Make a pro golfer play 40+ tournaments / matches a year.
Have Coaches, Trainers and Mascots
Teams should have coaches, trainers and mascots. Coaches can create better teams by having a good team dynamic that will help the players play to their best ability as a cohesive unit. Think of the personalities and the stories.
Bryson DeChambeau leading the Chicago Eagles vs Brooks Koepka as team captain of the Denver Aces.
Mascots would bring in more fans and make things fun for everyone involved at all levels of golf from amateur to professional tournament play.
Merchandise Would Sell Out
Think of the merchandizing opportunities! Follow your favorite team and players by buying the same golf outfits. It would be like the ultimate fan jersey.
The PGA tour is already looking at selling merchandise during events. Imagine the kind of revenue they could generate by making this change to their game. People would love it and buy more if they were able to represent their favorite team, not just a brand name on a shirt or hat.
The golf industry would boom. Everyone would want to know what drivers the Los Angeles Crushers were using and what balls the Seattle Rippers were hitting.
Bonus: Make It International Too!
Let’s face it, golf is an international game and we should be celebrating that fact. Instead of just having the four big events let players from all countries play in a tour across Europe as well! That means more money for everyone too!
Get those branded hats signed by your favorite European player before he heads back to England or Spain or wherever he plays. Think of the drawing power of John Rahm and Adam Scott.
The PGA should look to take advantage of the international aspect of this game and make it an even bigger event worldwide.
This game has the potential to be so much more than what it already is. These changes would make everything bigger and even better for everyone involved in professional golf! With these changes, fans will want to watch every match not just one or two big events a year because they’ll have their favorite teams playing at courses all over the world.
Advice for Jay Monahan
Get your Deputy Commissioner to work the day to day stuff while you think about the strategic issues. Task your Chief Operating Officer and Chief Marketing Officer to get to work on some proposals to actively grow the game.
They should actively consider these suggestions. The golf industry would boom and there’s plenty of money to be made from this change in the way PGA tour events are held each year.
Photo courtesy of MD Gov Picks. CC license 2.0