With apologies to the Bard…
PGA TOUR Champions?
Who’s bright idea was that rebranding?
More than 20 percent of the field at the newly named tour’s first event weren’t ever PGA TOUR champions and that percentage may even rise at a full field event. My question is what the heck was wrong with the Champions Tour? Heck what was wrong with the simpler and more appropriate Senior Tour?
The over fifty exhibition golf circuit came into existence in 1980 and was correctly called the Senior PGA TOUR for 22 years. Then in 2002 during an annual “state of the tours” address PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem announced, and I’m paraphrasing here, that “champions” was good and “seniors” was not. Here was the commish’s quote…
‘The bigger question here was in terms of extending the strength of the PGA Tour brand in a relevant way to reach the broader fan. We felt ‘champions’ resonated better than ‘seniors’.” He also said the change from Senior PGA Tour to Champions Tour was not solely because of negative connotations to the word ”senior.”
Not solely but mostly (my words, not his) and the “seniors” who played on the tour at the time agreed.
”I see myself as a champion, and I think this new tour name will broaden the definition of that word,” said Hale Irwin, who, while still playing on the tour at the age of almost 71, wasn’t asked to comment on the latest moniker makeover.
So some “branding expert” wandering the halls of PGA TOUR HQ decided that the word “senior” sounded bad or old or uncool. Even though it was A-OK with Palmer, Trevino, Floyd, Rodriguez, Nicklaus and others. I guess they guessed “Champions” was better, hipper, badassier. What they didn’t calculate was that nobody really cared, many still called it the Senior Tour, amazingly enough some still do
Now this, in the dark of night, in “Irsayian” fashion, under the cover of a new year’s hangover, and golf’s latest phenom destroying both the field and par at Kapalua, they’ve changed the name again this time to The PGA TOUR Champions. I’m sure those same folks in Ponte Vedra think this even further connects the older guys to their younger, longer hitting, counterparts but it really doesn’t. An article in a national newspaper about the first event of 2016 still referred to it as “the Senior Tour” almost two decades after they officially stopped calling it that. By the way did anybody ever think the Senior Tour was NOT affiliated with the PGA TOUR in the first place?
Not to mention “NBC on Golf Channel proudly presents the PGA TOUR Champions” is so much more laden and phlegmatic for Bob Papa, Whit Watson, David Marr or anybody else to say. As well as harder to comprehend and ill defined for those of us “seniors” in the audience. And finally, as stated above, they aren’t all “PGA TOUR Champions”.
What’s next, letting them wear shorts?