The Oddball Out

The WGC-World Cup isn’t living up to the expectations set by the other three World Golf Championship events.

Thrash TalkThe World Golf Championships events have provided some great memories the past five or six years. The Accenture Match Play Championship is held in February, and the event is one of my favorites every year. It’s no secret I love the match-play events, and the Match Play Championship has provided a change of pace since its beginning in 1999. Tiger has won the event a couple times, and there have also been some surprises along the way (Steve Stricker and Kevin Sutherland).

The WGC-NEC Invitational has also been great for golf. The event is held the week after the PGA Championship, and the field is always stacked. Tiger has dominated this event as well, but the event has provided some great memories in the past. Tiger’s duel with Jim Furyk in 2001 gave golf fans some of the best head-to-head action in recent memory.

The third member of the World Golf Championship series is the WGC-American Express Championship. This event is held a little later in the year, but it still maintains its luster. Mr. Woods has dominated this event in the past as well. Tiger’s head-to-head battle with John Daly this year was one of the best of the season. This tournament definitely holds its own.

Then, there is the fourth member of the World Golf Championship series, the WGC-World Cup. The event was held this past weekend, but I’m not sure anyone really cared about it. I’ll be honest, I didn’t really care what happened. I was busy watching the Dallas Cowboys play, and I don’t even like them.

The Absence of Big Names
As I stated before, I love match-play events. However, the World Cup event just doesn’t usually excite me. Tiger Woods and David Duval teamed up in 2000, and that was fun to watch. They were the best golfers in the world, and the best is supposed to play in the World Golf Championship events. In 2001, Ernie Els and Retief Goosen won the event, and at the time, they were two of the best in the world.

Fast forward to this year. The United States team was represented by Stewart Cink and Zach Johnson. These two are above-average golfers, but they shouldn’t be playing for the United States in a World Golf Championship event. Cink is ranked 25th in the world, and Johnson is ranked 49th.

There are many golfers from the United States that are ranked much higher than this. A few of these golfers include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Chris DiMarco, David Toms, etc. The list goes on and on before Stewart Cink’s name appears.

I’m not sure how the teams are determined, so I can’t make an accurate judgment on the higher-ranked players. However, the World Golf Championship was formed to showcase the best golfers in the world, and that’s how it should be. The top golfers in the world should want to represent their respective home countries. If this doesn’t happen in the future, the World Cup will become extinct.

I’m not just calling out the United States either. Out of the top ten golfers in the world, Sergio Garcia was the only one that played in the World Cup this past weekend. That is pathetic, and it doesn’t create any viewer interest. The only team that used two guys in the top-15 was England, and they finished second. I’ll give credit to Luke Donald and David Howell for that.

I would like to see Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh, Retief Goosen, Ernie Els (I know he is injured this time around), Adam Scott, etc. all representing their respective countries. Most of these golfers have played in the World Cup in the past, but I want to see it every year. The event would be so much better if the top golfers were teeing it up instead of the second-tier golfers like we got this past weekend.

Even if the top golfers in the world play in the World Cup, there still isn’t enough room for guys like Jim Furyk, Chris DiMarco, and David Toms. The United States can only have two representatives, and that hurts the event as well. The other three World Golf Championship events showcase all the top golfers in the world, so the World Cup is behind the eight-ball from the beginning.

There are a couple reasons why the WGC-World Cup isn’t ever going to compete with the other three World Golf Championship events, but the absence of the highest-ranked golfers is the main one. It’s a shame too because the golf course this past weekend in Portugal was one of the most unique courses I’ve seen in awhile.

Schedule Problem
Another reason the World Cup struggles is the placement on the schedule. This has killed a number of events, and it’s no different with the World Cup. The WGC-American Express Chamionship is dangerously close to being too late in the season, but the World Cup is definitely too late. By the time mid-November rolls around, golf fans are looking forward to the next season.

Football season is in full stride, and not as many people want to watch golf, especially with the absence of the game’s biggest names. I watched some of the early action from the World Cup, but it was tough to make it through. I wish I could have seen some of the action from the event in Japan, where Tiger battled with Jim Furyk and the long-lost David Duval. That is ratings right there.

The Final Say
The World Golf Championship idea was a great idea, and it’s been really good for golf fans around the world. I enjoy the WGC events almost as much as the major championships throughout the season. I’m not sure what will happen to the WGC events when the new schedule is released in 2007, but I am sure they will still play a major role in the golf season. If not, that will stink.

However, there is no reason to have four World Golf Championship events if the top players are only going to play in three of them. It’s a waste of everyone’s time and money. The committee members that overlook the World Golf Championship events need to take a look at the World Cup and make a business decision on its future. They can either get the best players possible and move it up on the schedule, or they can get rid of it. That would be a shame, but it’s the truth. As of now, it’s just a waste of space on the schedule.

That’s all I have to say this week. Now it’s time for you to speak your mind. Is the WGC-World Cup exciting to you? If not, would it be if the best players played in it every year? Finally, does it even have a place on the schedule since it can’t compete with its WGC brothers? If you have anything to add, please feel free to comment below or discuss it in our forum. Thanks for reading Thrash Talk this week and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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