What is it with these banks and financial service companies, these days it seems they all have a sky full of black clouds following them around. So it is this weekend with Hurricane Irene threatening the entire eastern seaboard with a meteorological Blitzkrieg. PGA Tour officials have wisely decided to shorten to 54 holes the first leg of the post season playoffs, The Barclays Championship (the Barclay’s logo actually has a bit of a Luftwaffe look to it doesn’t it).
Need I remind you that the last time Barclays sponsored a golf tournament, The Barclays Scottish Open in July, Scotland was hit with three months of rain in three hours. It turned the Castle Stuart Links course into the MGM set of Moses crossing the Dead Sea.
With a rain softened course playing like a picnic outing of lawn darts we are seeing scoring in the first two rounds that is off the charts. Last year’s winner, Matt Kuchar, is already 14-under trying to pull off a two-peat in this event on the Par 71 Donald Ross course at Plainfield Country Club in Edison, N.J. The tee times for the third and final round are off both sides between 7 am and 8:50 am in an attempt to get the full 18 in and fold up the circus tents before the bad stuff hits. So if you turn the broadcast on in the afternoon you can expect the “Taped Earlier” overlay in the top left corner of the flat screen.
The interesting thing about this development is that anyone at 8-under or better can shoot a round in the low 60s and have a chance of stealing the first event of the 2011 playoff series. This includes a whole bunch of familiar faces who have had mediocre seasons so far this year like Dustin Johnson, Vijay Singh, Justin Rose, Padraig Harrington, Aaron Baddeley, William McGirt (Who?), Sergio Garcia, and Camilo Villegas.
For these guys a win here would change everything-it would add about a million-four to their money market account and shove them to the top of the FedEx Kup race. Not bad for a mediocre season.
What can I say, these PGA guys really understand marketing. They are like alchemists when it comes to manufacturing TV ratings.