I once visited a university and they had the most peculiar elevators. They revolved up and down endlessly and were open at the side so you had to wait for exactly the right moment to jump on and jump off. If you got it wrong the paternoster lift would roll past you and you had missed your chance. If you got it wrong you also risked breaking your leg.
These elevators remind me of the rolling schedules of the golf tours.
We’ve just had the Tour Championship and the finale to the FedEx Cup, Justin Thomas was the champion, and wasn’t that fun, let’s do it all again. Immediately.
So I had just a three day window from the Internationals fight back in the Presidents Cup to the start of the new PGA Tour season to jump on here again. And I’ve made it, with both legs intact.
So let’s talk about the craziness of the revolving tours.
The European Tour is just as bad. The Race To Dubai doesn’t climax until November and then in December, let’s all go down to Australia and Sun City and start it all over again. The 2018 European Tour schedule was published yesterday and every month of the year is endlessly covered with tournaments all over the globe.
Of course it’s about the money, it always is. But you have to question whether these wraparound tours are for everyone’s good.
Rory McIlroy has made the bold and sensible decision to jump off the revolving elevator, to take two and a half months off to rehabilitate his injured rib and back and get some rest. His new wife will probably thank him for doing that too.
It’s now a long time ago that the season here began with The Masters in April and finished in freezing October with the much missed get together at the World Matchplay at Wentworth. Such a schedule probably seems self indulgent in the modern world, but many of us think that was the reason why careers were so prolonged well into professionals forties. It went with the laws of nature. That in the fields crops had a time for growing and yielding and a time to lay fallow, and so it should be with athletes, Although players choose their schedules, there is pressure all round on them. The current schedules of the tours allow so little time for that it’s all about chasing qualifying points and making as much money as you can, for the entourage you support.
The current dominance of top players in their early twenties supports this, they’re the ones who are naturally fit enough to keep up with these endless opportunities to play. The schedules are turning this into a young persons sport, and eventually they will be mentally and physically ground down by the constant travelling, changes in diet and relentless pressure from everyone. “Out there” is turning into a grinding toil for everyone, not just the players and their families, but everyone associated, including our broadcasters needing the vocal stamina of opera singers. When injuries happen to players there is pressure to carry on regardless and not take time to recover properly, and the most mentally demanding sport of all needs the mind to rest.
These schedules are not in anyone’s best interests bar the sponsors. Let’s think again. I noticed a couple of TBA gaps in the European Tour’s schedule. Instead of filling them why not put in the bold words “rest week”.
Stop the world occasionally, everyone needs to get off.