Saturday’s finish at the Farmers Insurance Open could become an annual tradition.
The only question is whether a few other tournaments will follow suit.
Farmers Insurance CEO Jeff Dailey told the San Diego Union-Tribune this week that the tournament will likely stick to its Wednesday-Saturday schedule for the foreseeable future. The change allows Farmers to not clash with the NFL Conference Championship games on Sunday, and Golf Channel is using the open house at the Torrey Pines South Course to broadcast, for the first time, the round final of an event on the Advocates Pro Golf. Association, a circuit designed to promote diversity in sport.
Asked if it was conceivable for the Farmers to return to their traditional Sunday finish, Dailey told the newspaper: “I don’t think so. Strong ratings are important to us, but we still get huge business benefits because we use that as motivation for our top agents across the country. This commercial advantage for us is probably stronger than a few extra rating points. If you take out the ratings, I like the Saturday ending better.
The Farmers’ third and final rounds aired on CBS, primetime.
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The changed schedule meant there was no pro-am earlier in the week – which is a “net hit of $1 million” for the event, according to tournament director Marty Gorsich – but he said that losses could be made up by other means, such as a tee shot. gala.
“All other elements are fine,” Gorsich told the newspaper. “I don’t see anything in our old format that says, ‘We have to go back to this.’ People watching our event on national television on Friday, it might take a year for people to realize this. That’s how tradition is built. It doesn’t start in the first year. It’s consistency. over time for people to learn and adopt.
Could other tournaments adopt the same schedule?
The first three Tour events of the new year – the Sentry Tournament of Champions (final week of the regular season), Sony Open (wildcard playoff round) and American Express (divisional playoff round) – all end late on Sunday, when the very popular NFL season comes to an end. NFL games accounted for 48 of the top 50 most-watched TV shows during the regular season, when the Tour’s fall schedule begins.
Dailey told the newspaper that the date change had been popular with players.
“I won’t say who,” he said, “but someone’s prediction was that three or four other tournaments might change their dates as well.”