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It was a big weekend for both the PGA Tour and NASCAR.
It was also the wrong weekend.
Before you start tossing your Dale Earnhardt beer cozy at me, just consider what would happen if the Daytona 500 were run at the end of the schedule instead of being the first event of the year.
Do they play the Super Bowl right after the exhibition games? Is the World Series the April Classic?
More than any other, the Daytona 500 is the biggest auto race in America, period. I know because the television ratings tell me so.
Now switch over to the PGA Tour, which held its Accenture World Golf Match Play Championship event in Tucson, Ariz.
As a University of Arizona graduate, I learned a couple of things, such as Tucson has more sun hours than any other city in the United States. There are 10 good months of weather a year in Tucson.
The two months to avoid? January and February.
So the PGA Tour plops one of its biggest events into a time period where snow is possible. Guess what. The first round on Wednesday was a mess because of snow. All four top seeds in the tournament, Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Luke Donald and Louis Oosthuizen, were gone after the first two rounds. Phil Mickelson didn’t bother to show up at all. Do you think that might have been because none of them likes teeing off in mittens?
Matt Kuchar won the tournament on Sunday wearing gloves that were designed for scientists in Antarctica.
In fact, if you really think about it, the entire West Coast for the PGA Tour is a major faux pas. Wouldn’t it be smarter to start the tour in Florida?
Of course, there is a simple solution. Move the events to the end of the season calendar.
I know. It would be like moving July 4 to Thanksgiving. You wouldn’t know whether to barbecue the turkey or stuff it full of fireworks.
Then there is that other thing. You’ve probably heard it a time or two at work. “But that’s not how we’ve always done it here.”
I admit that the Daytona 500 certainly isn’t broke, so I understand the “why fix it?” theory. But it’s not the race I am thinking about. It’s the entire circuit.
NASCAR has no crescendo, no big “DAAA DAAA DAAA DUM” at the end. If the New York Dolls were NASCAR, they would smash their guitars as a grand finale. The way it is now, NASCAR’s season end is kind of like The Who singing “The Way We Were.”
Same with the PGA Tour. It has a John Daly start and a Bill Lunde finish. Do you know Lunde? That’s the point.
Both organizations have season-ending, silly championships that none of us can understand. My nephew got into Harvard by writing a paper explaining the Fed Ex Cup. They pondered changing the name of “The Chase” to “The Enigma.”
It’s easy to understand the Daytona 500. Jimmie Johnson crossed the finish line first. He’s No. 1. Yippee.
Same goes with the match play tournament. Kuchar vs. Hunter Mahan race to the bitter end. We just don’t want the race to involve snowshoes.
Can’t we please make NASCAR’s Super Bowl be the Daytona 500? Can’t we finish the PGA season with a Fed Ex Cup that is decided by the Match Play Championship?
It might all sound insane to consider such dramatic changes, but I guarantee you that the PGA Tour and NASCAR are looking for ways to stay fresh and relevant.
Why else would you see the Daytona 500 drivers come out of a smoking tunnel before the race so they could low-five fans on their way to the track? I’m sure that probably wasn’t good for 54-year-old Mark Martin’s back.
Next year they probably will have Tony Stewart doing a Ray Lewis-like dance and flex.
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