Tenacious D: Different Strokes for Golf

Something depressing will probably happen later this week.

When the Nielsen ratings are released, CBS executives will find that "Walker, Texas Ranger," "Touched By An Angel" and even the much ridiculed "Falcone" will have had more viewers than the final round of the 63rd Masters Tournament.

On Sunday, I was one of the 40 or so people nationwide watching the Masters (which, I should mention, is a historic golf tournament), and I can understand the frustration of those who complain about golf not being a good spectator sport.

After all, this year did turn out to be quite a bore. Tiger was nowhere to be found for most of the tournament, Jim Nantz's color commentary grated on the nerves, and some guy named Vijay ended up winning it all by the comfortable margin of three strokes. I found myself sitting in front of my roommate's TV shaking my head. At that moment of despair, I realized that golf needed to spruce up its image in the coming years to attract the viewers necessary to compete with the likes of Chuck Norris.

After much thought, I came up with some suggested improvements that will help golf remain competitive in the cutthroat television market of the 21st century.

Before I begin, though, I should address possible detractors. Purists may take offense at this column because the changes I advocate may alter the very nature of the game. To those people, I would say that I love the sanctity of the game as much as the next golfer. Although my handicap hovers around the age the Grille bouncer believes me to be, I am still enamoured with the magical spirit of golf and only seek to bring the sport to a wider audience.

And with that goal in mind, I propose these modifications to golf to make it more entertaining and "American," and therefore more likely to be enjoyed and avidly followed by mainstream Americans.

The first change I would propose is the scoring system. If the average person tunes into a golf tournament and sees someone posting a "- 8," the gut reaction might be "wow, that guy sucks so much he's losing points." To make golf more intuitive and to quench the odd American craving for high-scoring sports, I suggest giving players positive points (and lots of them) to award good shots.

Some smartass might point out that such a procedure exists in the Stableford system. True, but since maybe all of five people know about the Stableford system, I think it's high time we renewed interest in golf scoring that outpaces NBA scoring.