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Why are smaller fields such a bad thing?

By Kyle Porter | Golf Writer

Bubba Watson thinks fields should be smaller to make golf faster. (Getty Images)
Bubba Watson thinks fields should be smaller to make golf faster. (Getty Images)

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Luke Kerr-Dineen wrote a good post for Golf Digest recently on shrinking fields to speed up pace of play.

In it he quoted Bubba Watson.

"The only way you're going to speed up PGA Tour golf is to shorten the fields, but nobody wants to do that because that's taking away a job."

Yes, yes!

"Make it smaller and make it faster."

Yes, yes, yes!

But, as Kerr-Dineen pointed out, that's not happening.

"We elect not to do that," Finchem said in 2012, "because as much as we like to see a stronger pace of play, the playing opportunities for the number of players we have had are more important. We'll generate the playing opportunities first, and take our lumps second. It's as simple as that."

My question: Why?

Maybe I'm being ignorant about this but what is the difference between having 100 golfers and 150 golfers in terms of the quality of your product?

If you're Tim Finchem you aren't here to satiate the desires of the 50 or so folks who would be left out of tournaments to realize their dream of playing professional golf.

You're here to deliver a quality product.

The only reasonable reason for leaving fields as big as they are is money. But are the Jonathan Byrds and DA Points' of the world generating golf revenue? Maybe they are because they're making tournament days longer thus extending sales, etc.

But that feels like a reach.

And if those 50 or so guys aren't bringing in cash that's like Adam Silver saying "you know, the Bobcats and Bucks really make our product worse AND they don't generate money, let's keep them around!"

There's not a professional sports league in the world that couldn't be helped a bit by a little contraction. And it would appear no league could do it more easily than the PGA Tour.

Is it a coincidence that the best tournament of the year (Masters) has the smallest field? Maybe...but maybe not.

Cutting down fields would speed up play, automatically make pairings better, and create a gaudier minor league system from which golfers could graduate.

I think it's at least worth exploring.

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnGolf and @KylePorterCBS on Twitter or Google+ and like us on Facebook.

 
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