Did you know that the PGA Tour’s 2010 schedule started nearly three weeks ago? Of course you didn’t. With Tiger hiding out in rehab, why would you? If the PGA wants to draw any fans while its meal ticket is out of commission, it will need to get creative. Luckily for the Tour, we’ve got some ideas that will help bring the crowds back:
1. Make a Bang: Roughly 30% of the balls on the Tour should be replaced with exploding novelty balls. For maximum comedy, roughly 100% of these exploding balls should be placed in Sergio Garcia’s bag.
2. Butt Out Smoking: Seeing Angel Cabrera light up on the fairway really undercuts the game’s sophistication. Add a little bit of understated dignity back to the Tour by having him switch to chew.
3. Go Green: Scale up some of miniature golf’s best ideas. Instead of a little novelty windmill, put up a full-sized one on each green. In addition to helping generate power, a full-sized windmill won’t just reject shots; it will speed up the game by dismembering slower players. (Might want to go ahead and write a sympathy card to Jesper Parnevik’s widow now.)
4. Raise the Stakes:Another good idea to swipe from minigolf: a hole-in-one on the 18th, earns you a free 12 oz. soda in the clubhouse! That's way better than an ugly green blazer.
5. Make Some Apologies: You’ve had your differences, but with Tiger out, John Daly might be your biggest draw. Encourage his participation by eschewing cash purses in favor of cases of Busch Light.
6. Get Provocative:Sex sells, so why not encourage Mickelson show a little bit more cleavage when he leans over to pick up his ball?Down-shirt shots from the blimp aren't enough.
7. Get With the People: New wrinkle for this year: only hold tournaments at courses with greens fees of $25 or less. True champions should be able to adjust their shots to play the bounce off of the stripped Honda Civic that’s rusting out on the 14thfairway.
8. Lighten Up: Don’t just allow fans to talk during players’ backswings; encourage it! If Ernie Els can’t concentrate while spectators yell “Goat penis!” does he really deserve to win?
9. Bring Back Michelle Wie.Americans are willing to put up with creepy stage parents and losing as long as they’re attached to a luscious C-cup. She's kind of like Phil Mickelson for people who are more into the Asian look.
10. Raise Your Standards: To avoid another Tiger-with-a-Perkins-waitress debacle, have a sit-down with the players to talk about making good decisions with the ladies. This is the PGA, so not just any old waitress will do. From now on, it’s Olive Garden or better, boys. You’ll look more dignified, AND you’ll get unlimited free breadsticks.
11. Say No to Drugs:Hide Colin Montgomerie’s pills. Trust us, this will lead to riveting television. The spike in ratings should generate more than enough cash to cover his caddie’s medical bills from the inevitable beating.
12. Cultivate New Personalities:Someone named Steve Stricker was second on the Tour’s money list last year. Not to fault your PR department, but well over 99.99% of Americans wouldn’t recognize Steve Stricker even if he walked into their homes and robbed them. You might want to work on that.
13. Wait, That’s a Great Idea:Actually, you know what? Just have Steve Stricker start robbing people. Should generate some buzz for the Tour and a nice supplemental income for Steve.
14. Emulate Vince McMahon:Say what you will about professional wrestling, but it embraces the sort of showmanship that leads to big ratings. How hard can it be to find one person on the Tour who’s willing to hit Rory Sabbatini with a folding chair? Vijay Singh’s been brining a chair to tournaments for years just waiting for his chance.
15. Be More Literal: The stakes in this year’s Skins Game should involve actual flesh. Sure, missing a putt to lost $50,000 hurts, but nowhere near as much as losing a credit-card-sized patch of your skin will. It puts the ball in the hole or it gets the hose again.