Seven reasons the 2014 PGA Championship will succeed with viewers

By |  August 8, 2014 0 Comments
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A look up No. 18 at Valhalla. Photo by Seth Jones

7. Tiger Woods Hey, even if he misses the cut… Tiger Woods attracts viewers to the game. I’m surprised he showed up to play, but I bet the PGA of America popped a bottle of champagne when he made that first tee time.

6. Green golf – The last American Major seen by the golfing public was at Pinehurst. And while that course was a critical success, it did leave some viewers with mixed reactions to all the brown they saw on TV. Well, Valhalla is as green as that first Major of the year. Golf fans who are into eye-popping green golf? They’ll love what they see.

5. A scorer’s course – Kerry Haig, PGA of America Chief Championships Officer, has the course set up for excitement. There are plenty of places to score but also areas of absolute doom. They say that they “know drama” on TNT, and I think the set-up at Valhalla fits right in with that description.

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Kerry Haig, PGA of America Chief Championships Officer, addresses the crew at Valhalla. Photo by Seth Jones

4. Ideal weather makes for ideal conditions – Louisville has experienced some ideal growing conditions leading up to the PGA Championship. I asked assistant superintendent Chris Habich about it. “A bunch of weather in the 70s when we’re used to the 90s and sometimes 100s,” he told me. “Very cool nights — I’ve never had to wear a sweatshirt in July before. Very ideal growing conditions.” Yeah, rainy conditions today, but that can be dealt with. The conditions last month, and the month before? Vital to the success we’re seeing on TV right now.

3. This sports weekend is awful Seriously, ESPN’s top plays of the day yesterday included two plays involving grade schoolers playing baseball. And I don’t want to ever see the CrossFit Games on TV when I’m at the local sports bar. We’re in that sports lull where the only decent sport is Major League Baseball… and that’s OK if you’re a baseball fan. But for me, I want some basketball or football on TV, and I’m not getting any of that (preseason NFL games? Give me a break.) Let’s see what’s on tomorrow for sports… oh, good! Swimming! Enter, the PGA Championship. It’s the sporting event of the weekend. Good timing, going up against 10-year-old baseball players and swimmers, PGA!

2. Rory going for three in a row is pretty awesome – Back-to-back Majors, as well as three in a row? I’ve got no problem watching Rory McIlroy put on a display of pure excellence. And then you’ve got a story like this one out there about how nice he is? I shook Rory’s hand in the parking lot when he first arrived to the course on Monday. So far, he’s three-for-three with me in being a cool, laid back guy. An easy guy to root for. And if he keeps playing like the way he’s been playing… he’s going to get fans excited, for sure.

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Valhalla assistant superintendent Chris Habich, assistant-in-training Bryce Yates and mechanic Jason Newman. Photo by Seth Jones

1. Roger Meier, Chris Habich and Co. – The superintendent, the assistant superintendent and the crew. They’ve got Valhalla absolutely dialed in. And more good news: the course looks as good on TV as it does in real life. That might sound silly, but it happens… some courses aren’t as picturesque on TV as they are when you’re standing there looking at it with your own eyes.

There you have it. Seven reasons why I think the PGA Championship at Valhalla is going to be a big winner.

Now, excuse me as I sit back and watch Friday afternoon’s coverage…

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About the Author: Seth Jones

Seth Jones, a 25-year veteran of the golf industry media, is Editor-in-Chief of Golfdom magazine and Athletic Turf. A graduate of the University of Kansas School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Jones began working for Golf Course Management in 1999 as an intern. In his professional career he has won numerous awards, including a Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) first place general feature writing award for his profile of World Golf Hall of Famer Greg Norman and a TOCA first place photography award for his work covering the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In his career, Jones has accumulated an impressive list of interviews, including such names as George H.W. Bush, Samuel L. Jackson, Lance Armstrong and Charles Barkley. Jones has also done in-depth interviews with such golfing luminaries as Norman, Gary Player, Nick Price and Lorena Ochoa, to name only a few. Jones is a member of both the Golf Writers Association of America and the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association. Jones can be reached at

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