In the past I’ve used this column to criticize PGA Tour policy, but sometimes you have to give credit where it’s due. Quite simply, the tour has made Wednesdays great again. The new pro-am format hasn’t been conducted at every tournament this season, but where it has, the vibe in the locker room has been better. The guys are happier because they love having to play only nine holes. Amateurs still go 18 and get to team with two pros instead of one.
It’s a smart change for several reasons. From the veterans’ perspective, most of us don’t want to play a full round on the eve of a 72-hole tournament. If I draw the afternoon wave on Wednesday and an early tee time on Thursday, chances are I’ll leave the course at dark and return before dawn. But nine holes to see the course conditions, hit a bag of balls afterward if the swing needs some work, then have a relaxing dinner—that’s perfect.
For young pros, twice as many get the benefit of the proam experience. The old format maxed out at 52 pros, but now it’s 104, or about two-thirds of the field. I tell rookies, you won’t always meet potential business contacts, but always work on sharpening your interpersonal skills for when you do.
Obviously the ams who get paired with Tiger, Jordan, Rory and the other big stars are bummed to get only half the time. But the ams with the connections to land in those grou