Monthly Archives: October 2007

Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf

Considering the reach of the Presidents Cup reminded me of the made-for-TV golf matches cum travel show Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf. This show was a tightly edited match between two professional golfers. The show first ran from 1962 through 1970 and then later from 1994 to 2002.

My memories of the show are of host Jack Whitaker droaning on about how wonderfully marvelous the players as well as the course were. It was sappy, to say the least, but hearing the players joke around and seeing them play in the relaxed atmosphere was exciting to me as a young golf fan.

I was wondering whether Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf lived up to its name as a truly worldly show. What I found surprised me. The initial run of the show seemed to be more far reaching in terms of playing locations than the more recent run of the show. Between 1962 and 1970 the show visited destinations such as Tokyo, New Zealand, Singapore, India, the Philippines, Thailand, and many places in North America and Western Europe. The later run from 1994 to 2002 was noticeably less adventurous. Most of the destinations were in the Americas or Carribbean. Only a smattering are in Western Europe.

Golf is clearly more far reaching than ever, but is the curtailed travel schedule of the recent Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf episodes evidence that the Presidents Cup would not go over well with a U.S. audience if played in some of the most far reaching locals?

(Information from Golf Channel is the current home to Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf, however their website for the show is semi-defunct and outdated.)

Golf Around the World

Gary Player wants the Presidents Cup to be played around the world.

We should be going into China. We should be going into India and I think we should be going into Eastern Europe. It would be my dream to see that.

Jack Nicklaus wants similar things, but is realistic.

Having traveled to China this past summer, I’m not sure I would want a Presidents Cup to be played there. The top players in the world would be less likely to travel to China. It is not a developed country. It is a developing country, which means there are still a lot of kinks to work out. If the Olympics go smoothly in Beijing next summer, perhaps my views on China hosting other sporting events will change. But it seems the PGA Tour (etc.) would have to reach for a reason to take the Presidents Cup to China or India. There are no Chinese or Indian members on the International team, so no one country is being ignored by the Australia-South Africa-Canada approach to the Presidents Cup. Further, I don’t think the Presidents Cup would play well in China or India for media and promotion reasons. Beneath the battle for the Cup is a concern for the bottom line, and marketing a golf event in China to a U.S. audience is a sure way to ensure the smallest possibly home-town crowd ever. China isn’t a country you just fly to. You basically have to get invited, and for a good reason.

I agree with Nicklaus that the Presidents Cup isn’t ready to be played in China, India, or, to a lesser extent, Easter Europe. Maybe once it establishes a more solid foundation with golf fans and the question of, “Are the players Cupped out?,” falls by the wayside should taking the Cup “abroad” be reconsidered.

Smooth Tunes, Smooth Swing

I played the saxophone in junior high school, which for some reason – a reason I will never live down – got me hooked on Kenny G’s music. His album titled, “Breathless,” is my favorite. Although, I would also recommend “Miracles” if the holiday season is nearing.

And the point of this post is to note that Kenny G got a sponsor’s exemption into this week’s Mark Christopher Charity Classic, a Nationwide Tour event. He turned down an invite to play last year, but did tee it up in 2005. He shot 82-83 to miss the cut.

Looks like the silly season is starting early.