At last look, 71 per cent said yes to the GNN Poll about including women golfers in the Presidents Cup. I concede that 29 per cent said no, but 73 is quite a big number.
I suspect the 27 per cent includes some people who don’t like women’s golf, prefer men-only golf and/or don’t like change, but when 71 per cent agree on the concept, it says to me that people aren’t enjoying the current format, want more women’s golf at the highest level and think there might be an equalization formula available that would produce a viable competition.
However, there are only two factors that will create any movement toward change – Nielsen ratings and ticket sales. The ratings for the 2017 event are down overall and for the final day and when all factors are considered, they will probably be the lowest of any previous Presidents Cup.
Ticket sales are more difficult to obtain and are affected by the 25,000 daily maximum limit set by the organizers. In their words, this was to improve the viewing experience of the spectators. In reality, it was because parking was limited, highway access was awkward and transportation via the ferry had specific capacity.
The basic prediction by all media prior to the first tee shot being struck was quite simply a blow out.
When the lead story in one of the most-read publications covering the event provides a list of alternative things to do while attending the tournament that includes take a selfie against the New York skyline, going for a walk around the grounds, shopping for merchandise and buying a hot dog, you know things aren’t going to go well!
American teams obliterated the U.K. teams in the Ryder Cup for years. That event caused little stir among golfers until Jack Nicklaus had an epiphany. “Why not include the rest of Europe on the U.K. team”? It took a while for the stars to line up but they did and that story is history.
We shouldn’t get too far ahead of ourselves. A new American contingent has arrived, one that has not existed for a long time and brimming with young guns.
Headed by Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler and others, the American team consists of guys who actually like each other, travel together, grew up together, cheer for each other and love to compete against each other.
Way back in the old days, some players drove together and shared many cost-cutting measures out of necessity.
Then, players earned more money and became very independent, so much so that the general belief was that the Europeans who did travel together and share life with each other had a better chemistry. It was this camaraderie that allowed them to overcome great variances in the World Rankings and take the Ryder Cup back to Europe year after year until recently.
That is about to change.
With the new young guns, enjoyment of the game, their friendship with each other and their fierce desire to win is exactly the same strength deployed by the European Ryder Cup team.
Unfortunately, the International Team doesn’t have this resource because other than representing their own countries, the only common focus they have is to beat the Americans. There is a very big difference in the motivation to win for a cause than to beat someone for no cause.
In my opinion, the 2017 Presidents Cup results are exactly what we are going to see in both the Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup for the next few years. Things have changed. Not only are the American players different, they are now playing these head-to-head formats every year, while their competitors are only facing them every two years.
I also think that both competitions are going to be forced to come up with some form of original thinking or they fade away.
The Ryder Cup will take a while because it is so incredibly popular right now, but if the USA begins to dominate, people will get bored. The Presidents Cup is facing that dilemma right now.
If something isn’t changed or a fresh idea isn’t implemented, sponsors will begin analyzing their return on investment. Nielsen ratings are only one way corporate decision-makers determine how much money they wish to invest.
As soon as the cost to attract new customers increases, revenue acquired through marketing slows or their TV ads fail to convert viewers into customers due to reduced numbers of viewers, all that money will be gone.
One exciting way to pump new life into the Presidents Cup is to include women and it would be interesting to see how it would come together in terms of numbers of players for each gender on each team, the adjustment of courses for each gender, various formats, etc. This process alone would be enough to stir interest with all the possibilities.
It all sounds interesting enough and would lead to enhanced viewing pleasure but here is the problem. Do you think the PGA Tour is going to share the revenue with the women? They will if the sponsors put up the money.