Alternative events on the PGA Tour always bring with them the allure of differentiation and uniqueness. Last week's Zurich Classic was no different as 80 teams played a variety of formats -- four-ball and alternate shot -- for spectacular sums of money. While fans' desires to watch an event is largely determined by which golfers are participating, no matter the format that event is played, there are some fun tweaks the Zurich could make going forward.
These changes would not necessarily draw in new viewership (only adding names like Rory McIlroy or Jordan Spieth could do that), but they might make the festivities more enjoyable for those already locked into the golf every weekend. And over time, that could certainly bring in a new swath of fans for events of this format.
Here are five spices the Zurich Classic could add that would benefit the tournament going into Year 5 of its existence as a two-man team event.
1. Get rid of best-ball
A quick Twitter scan on Sunday afternoon confirms that this format is something that would be supported. There are several different ways you could go with the two rounds that are currently played as four-ball rounds, and maybe you end up just removing one of them, but the consensus among folks who would like to get rid of the best-ball portion is that -- in a non-match play event -- it just doesn't bring a ton to the table in terms of entertainment or drama.
2. Make every round different
This is a Joel Beall special. His suggestion is to keep one round of best-ball, one round of alternate shot and then add in a more extreme version of each one with a round of worst-ball and one scramble round. The scramble round could result in scores in the mid-50s (which would wild), and the worst-ball -- where you take the worst score from a team's player on a given hole -- would help determine the best team (also scores might reach into the 80s). Tons of top players have talked about the merits of playing a two-ball worst-ball game with themselves over the years, and to see it in competition with this much at stake would be pretty awesome.
3. Create uniformity for teams
This would be a bit more complex, but it would be pretty great if teams were made up of players who attended the same college. Several teams already do that -- Viktor Hovland and Kris Ventura both went to Oklahoma State, Brandon Hagy and Michael Kim went to Cal -- but it would add a small element of pride to the competition. For players who didn't go to college or don't have another player who went to their college, you could pair up by nationality. Again, these are small, almost unrecognizable, tweaks that could add a little flavor to the week.
4. Club challenge
One format that is always fun with pros is when you start removing clubs from the bag. Imagine if teams that were outside the top 10 after Round 1 had to take two clubs out of the bag in Round 2? This engenders creativity and art from the best players in the world, and it would be awesome to watch guys have to hit difficult shots with the wrong club. You don't get a true sense of how great professionals are when they're hitting stock shots from 150 yards away. However, when they have to bend a shot with the wrong iron to try and get up and down from a ridiculous spot, that's both a great show and a reminder of just how impossibly good these guys are.
5. More drafts!
You know what never gets old? Choosing sides in the schoolyard. What if teams got to draft players who missed the cut for a weekend format? What if everybody showed up on Monday afternoon and the top 40-ranked players drafted three other guys and you had teams of four contending throughout the week? The entire thing would be must-see TV and absolutely theatrical.
Obviously you couldn't implement all of these ideas simultaneously, but each represents a fun wrinkle to toss at an already-fun event. If McIlroy and Spieth eventually commit to come play, all the better.