Sundays at the Farmers Insurance Open? Those may be so yesterday.
In an interview with columnist Bryce Miller of the San Diego Union-Tribune this week, Farmers Insurance CEO Jeff Dailey said the tournament at Torrey Pines in San Diego may stick with the Wednesday-Saturday schedule that was used this year for the first time. The move had been made from the traditional Thursday-Sunday lineup after the NFL bumped its highly watched conference championship games to what would have been the final day of tournament week.
The newspaper asked Dailey if he saw a scenario where the event would switch back to a Thursday-Sunday schedule, and he said: “I don’t think so.” This year’s event was won by Luke List in a sudden-death playoff over Will Zalatoris.
“It’s important to us that the ratings are strong, but we still get a tremendous amount of business benefit because we use this as motivation for our top agents around the country,” Gorscich told the Union-Tribune. “That business benefit for us is probably stronger than a few incremental ratings points.
“If you take the ratings out of it, I like the Saturday finish better.”
While the primary goal was for the Farmers Insurance Open to avoid fighting for viewers with football, tournament director and CEO Marty Gorsich told the Union Tribune that the tournament began to see other benefits. Though it lost the pro-am — a “net $1 million hit” for the Century Club of San Diego, Gorsich told the newspaper — he said different events may take its place.
“The pro-am is an initial hit, but we can create things like a tee-off gala or other unique experiences to replace that financial impact,” Gorsich told the Union-Tribune. “All the other elements are fine. I don’t see anything in our old format that says, ‘We’ve got to get back to that.’
“People watching our event on national TV Friday, it might take a year for people to realize that. That’s how tradition gets built. It doesn’t start in the first year. It’s consistency over time for people to learn it and embrace it.”
And, according to Dailey, other tournaments are considering it, too. This NFL season, professional football on Sundays went head to head with final days of PGA Tour events or the Ryder Cup over 16 weeks.
“The golfers I talked to like it, too,” Dailey told the Union-Tribune. “I won’t say who, but someone’s prediction was that three or four more tournaments might shift their dates as well.”