The Masters golf tournament each year emphasizes the need for the PGA tour to be at least occasionally creative with its events, to keep its product from being one endless string of Sea Pines Byron Campbell Inverrary Quad Cities Classics.
The pros are playing tougher courses and for more money than ever, but they still creep along, from one bunker to another, without the sort of variety that could be distinctive without being contrived.
What makes the Masters special, in part, is how it differs from the tour stops. The Masters cares for tradition; it has a spot for golf's past, the Sneads and Sarazens, and for golf's future, the amateurs.
The tour needs to dip into golf's heritage and pluck out one grand match-play event each year, man against man, the way os many important tornaments once were decided. The ideal tournament is the one Commissioner Deane Beman wants as the supreme climax to the season, the World Series of Golf.
Beman's notions of the World Series are fine, the players who have played the best during the winter, spring and summer having at one another before America turns its bloodshot eye toward football.
But the format for the World Series ought to be match play. If these are the players with the best records, let them be paired against each other and let a generation of golfing fans unfamiliar with match play gain an appreciation of this fine competition.
The problem, everyone says, is sponsorship and television, the fear a final would match two colorless robots wearing Amana hats, say Miller Barber vs. Charles Coody, and the audience would switch to something exciting, like professional potato peeling.
If Beman and other tour heavyweights endorsed thematch-play notion for an event such as the World Series, it ought to sell. And the excuse that match play would be too risky for television, that the match might be over before the camera holes, is a poor one.
Television no longer has to be stationary, as it was for the last pro match-play event, in 1973. Its hand-held cameras now intrude on many a backswing on the tour. ABC managed to create the capacity to show all 18 holes of last year's U.S. Open.
If memory serves, the final round of last year's Would Series was essentially past its most dramatic moments by the time television coverage began. Tom Weiskopf had made a wonderful run at the eventual winner, Lanny Wadkins, and fallen back - and television had very few of those critical shots.
Give it a try, Deane. Money, even huge amounts of it, no longer is distinctive. The purse could be $1 billion, with the winner getting $200 million, and the World Series still would not be much more than a glorified Tour nament of Champions.