I like sports yes I do! I like sports how ‘bout you?
As major sports leagues come back to competition, the PGATOUR has replaced their Wednesday Pro-Ams with nine hole matches that support the local charity each tournament raises money for.
At the FedEx St Jude Invitational, aka World Golf Championship FedEx St Jude Invitational, former Vanderbilt Golfer, Brandt Snedeker paired up with former Slimy Gator (TM), Billy Horschel, to take on Henrik Stenson and Viktor Hovland.
Both Sneds and Horschel won the FedEx Cup, the TOUR playoffs, in 2012 and 2014, respectively. Stenson won it in 2013. Hovland is 23rd in the current standings.
Team Former SEC took down Team Scandinavia, with scores of -4 to -2 in a weather shortened event. They got in seven holes, but the weather in Memphis in July is notoriously volatile. And by volatile, I mean wildly hot and humid with rain storms sweeping in from the west.
Since there are no fans at TOUR (or any sporting) events, the matches have been taking place on Wednesday over the last four weeks as the TOUR tries to raise money for the charities that gate and food and beverage sales typically go to during the four day stop.
The matches are clever pairings and styles of play beyond simple stroke play. This one is a best ball team match, while last week was a four-man team scramble. Across the nine, the players have a chance to make more money for the charity by scoring well on challenge holes.
Another nice aspect of the broadcast is the players are mic’ed up. Still highly produced to put the best foot forward for each player, the mics give insight into shot selection, small talk, and jokes that you don’t get on normal broadcasts.
Cynically, these broadcasts also put the title sponsor front and center. In the instance of FedEX, the TOUR’s top sponsor, they appear in every chyron, interview, tee shot, putting shot, and occasionally they’ll run a FedEx truck in the background.
But it’s hard to blame them when the charity involved is St Jude. Give St Jude all the money. They treat children for no cost to the parent.
Snedeker said that this charity is especially important to him because he is a Tennessean. “It’s means a lot, especially being from Tennessee, I’m from Nashville just up the road here. I know full well what a great place St. Jude is,” Snedeker said. “What they’re trying to accomplish. Any way we can help do that, being a Tennessean, I know what they do for this community and around the country. I’d be more than happy to do anything I can to help. This is awesome.”