PGA Tour Confidential: A Tiger-Rory face-off at Bethpage, Sergio pushes for Ryder Cup

Tiger Woods, PGA Championship
Jack Dempsey / AP
Steve Fox won the U.S. Am with a birdie on the 37th hole.

RETURN OF PRIME-TIME GOLF?
Reiterman: In other Rory and Tiger news, it was announced this week that they'll play a one-day exhibition against each other on Oct. 29 in China. (I'd be excited if it was on TV.) It got me thinking, with all the big names these days -- Rory, Rickie, Keegan, Bubba, D.J., etc. -- is it time to bring back the prime-time exhibitions here in the U.S., like Tiger vs. Sergio in "The Battle at Bighorn" circa 2000? Don't tell me you wouldn't watch Tiger and Bubba vs. Phil and D.J. under the lights on Golf Channel. Or how about we hype the next Ryder Cup by setting up a little match with Rory and GMac against Bubba and Rickie? I'm loving the possibilities. Your thoughts?

Shipnuck: The last ones sounded good on paper, too. Golf is exciting when every shot means something. That's not the case in the giggle-golf exhibitions, and the players and TV viewers know it.

Bamberger: Those classless shows are demeaning to the greatness of the game. I love them. More please.

Garrity: I'm with you, Michael. Have you ever noticed that old episodes of All-Star Golf or Shell's Wonderful World of Golf are more fun to watch than the highlights of old major championships? Personally, I can't get enough of Sam Snead vs. Dean Martin.

Herre: The first Battle of Whatever was kinda cool, but the concept went downhill fast. That said, there has been a tradition (and market) for golf exhibitions that goes all the way back to Old Tom. An original idea with the right players would probably work today.

Dusek: I think exhibition matches like that would be fantastic and popular with the fans. With the Asian tour events taking on more prominence these days, logistics and scheduling would be a nightmare, but I'd love to see it happen.

Ritter: I don't know. Those made-for-TV events 10 years ago always sounded cool ... then the event started, and it was all so hokey and forced. I think today those contests would appeal more to non-golf fans/reality-television watchers than to folks who closely follow the sport.

Shipnuck: Yeah, there's tons of crossover between the audiences for golf and "The Bachelorette."

Herre: Alan, how about Mickelson vs. D.J. -- for their own money?

Wei: Doesn't that happen just about every Tuesday or Wednesday?

Shipnuck: Own money has always been the ticket. But are they really gonna pony up? Phil might...

Wei: I bet Dustin would, too.

Dusek: Mickelson vs. Johnson at Pebble Beach, 18 holes, no lights or gimmicks, and the loser cuts a check for $1 million to the winner's charity of choice.

Morfit: I think those made-for-TV events only work if you have two feet of snow out your front door and they're playing someplace unreasonably pretty, like Maui.

Tell us what you think in the comments section below: Would you like to see more prime-time golf match-play exhibitions?

SURPRISE FINISH AT U.S. AMATEUR
Reiterman: If you weren't watching the U.S. Amateur on Sunday, you missed one of the most insane endings I've ever seen. (Tiger's Ams not included.) On the 36th hole, Michael Weaver had about five feet for the win and the ball was heading straight into the hole before it hit a spike mark and did a complete 180 down and around the hole. He then lost on the first extra hole when Steve Fox, the 63rd seed, made a birdie. What will you remember, Fox winning, or that painful miss by Weaver?

Herre: Spike marks, argh! Aren't these ams wearing softspikes? On the other hand, rub of the green, and a memorable U.S. Am, which is good for the event.

Wei: Sucks there was a spike mark, especially considering how few players were on the course.

Bamberger: They both get into Augusta.

Wei: Don't forget Merion, too, Michael!

Reiterman: Great point. I think that's the biggest prize of all, no? To me, an invite to the Masters and the U.S. Open should only go to the winner. The loser should get nuttin'.

Dusek: I know I'm in the minority on this one, but I have trouble getting into the U.S. Amateur, so I think I'm more likely to remember the steak I was eating at the time.

Shipnuck: Rub of the green, baby. It's a sad tale, but also an eloquent example of golf's cruelty. I'd like to see the rule change so spike marks can be fixed, but that's a separate discussion...

Tell us what you think in the comments section below: What will you most remember about the U.S. Amateur?

WOULD YOU RATHER ...
Reiterman: A lot of people, Jack Nicklaus among them, would say the Am is a major. Where do you rank it among the big titles in golf? And would you rather win a regular PGA Tour event or the Amateur?

Dusek: PGA Tour event.

Shipnuck: Eighty years ago, the U.S. Amateur might have been a major, but now it's just a glorified college tournament. Winning is still a nice accomplishment, but how many FedEx Cup points is it worth? I'd much rather nab a Tour event.

Reiterman: Outside of the Memorial, my hometown event, I'd take the Am. A lot of bad-ass names on that trophy. You're telling me some of you guys would rather look up at your trophy case and see a Frys.com Open trophy over the Amateur? Come on!

Wei: Exactly! Who remembers the winner of the Frys.Com Open last year? But many of us can name the U.S. Am champs dating back a decade at least.

Ritter: I can think of about 1.1 million reasons why it'd be cooler to win the Wyndham.

Wei: Win the U.S. Am, and you get in the Masters and the U.S. Open, along with sponsors' exemptions to Tour events.

Herre: The Am has and always will have major cache in one of our highest golfing circles, the USGA. That's the beauty of it. No one wins the Amateur without having led a golfing life. Some of the kids who win might not appreciate the honor immediately, but they understand in time. No matter the ups and downs of the U.S. golf industry, the Am will survive, and its winner will be celebrated.

Wei: Growing up as a junior golfer, it was always THE prize. I think most kids still get that. At least I hope so.

Bamberger: I'd rather win the Dick's Sporting Goods Open like Willie Wood did today.

Herre: Good for Willie Wood. Second chances -- that's the beauty of the senior tour, and no one is more deserving. Must confess, I'm a sucker for the seniors. Lives lived, successes and failures, still doing what they do best. Lots of great stories.

Tell us what you think in the comments section below: What would you rather win: A U.S. Am or a PGA Tour event?

 

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