June 25, 2007

The Silly Season for major champions

Fred Couples' idea for a new tour for major-championship winners age 37-55 isn't bad, but I have some even better suggestions.

This Major Champions Tour thing might not be a bad idea if somebody could assure me that Ian Baker-Finch would tee it up every time out. Get to see a guy launch a drive over the condos and into the quaint shopping village. There'd be nothing to lose but our boredom.

Maybe have to play it from the shopping village—out of the discarded Starbucks coffee container, through Randy's Gift Boutique with its selections of shark's-teeth necklaces and shell ashtrays, past Rachel's Arts Books Music that sells only copies of Harry Potter and the Witch's Pizza and CDs of all those rock divas screaming out tuneless ballads.

I like what Fred Couples proposes. Which is not just another bunch of golf tournaments on golf courses for pro golfers. It would be a bunch of golf tournaments on golf courses for guys who can't beat anybody today but each other.

Fred wants a tour for guys like him. Guys between the ages of 37 and 55, ;guys who fell into a major somewher back in their past but can't win anything now but an outing.

Some people derisively call the idea a sub-senior tour. I call it an idea whose time has come: Mulligan II.

The senior tour itself—Mulligan I—proves there are golf nuts out there who will take a deep interest in almost anthing—paint drying, grass growing, water hardening in ice trays, Allen Doyle, Dana Quigley, Doug Tewell, Bruce Fleisher.

Think about it. Mulligan II would give you a field of Fred Couples, Greg Norman, Nick Price, Curtis Strange, Bernhard Langer, Paul Azinger, Corey Pavin, Ian Woosnam, Tom Lehman, Mark O'Meara, Seve Ballesteros and Nick Faldo, not to forget the all-important Ian Baker-Finch.

You want to tell me a tournament with those names wouldn't be more attractive than, say, the Bay Hill Invitational presented by Cooper Tires? Are you kidding?

Think about it some more. What have you got on the regular tour today when Tiger Woods and Ernie Els aren't winning?

I'll tell you what you've got. You've got Chris DiMarco, whose name sounds like a morning DJ spinning doo-wop.

Another reason the idea is so great is because it's just not fair for all those guys who've won so many millions for so many years not to have more millions to win while they're in that lull between the regular tour and the geezer tour.

I mean, what's the point of being a touring pro at all if you can't be guaranteed millions of somebody else's money to win your whole life?

I see a future when there'll be even more tours after Mulligan II. The possibilities are unlimited. We can have:

The Colin Montgomerie/Scott Hoch Tour. It's for players who have almost won majors, and the competitors get to heckle the fans.

The Corey Pavin Tour. It's for former major winners who are 5-9 or smaller, but this one could hinge on whether Jeff Sluman commits.

The Bernhard Langer Tour. It's for former major winners who like to play six-hour rounds and use three different putting grips.

The Obscure Guru Tour. It's for major winners who never had David Leadbetter or Harvey Penick for a teacher.

The Jay Haas/Niclas Fasth Tour. It's for players who have thought about winning majors and have extra vowels in their names or have come up a few short.

The Ben Crenshaw Tour. It's for former major winners who are pretty sure that gutta percha is more fun than balata.

The John Daly Tour. It's for former major winners who'll play 36 holes followed by 36 hours of seven-card stud.

And finally, The Ian Baker-Finch/Seve Ballesteros Tour. It's for former major winners who prefer to play a different course than the one the tournament is on.

Why not all this? What do you want these guys to do, get a real job?