What I’d like to see the men’s professional game focus on this holiday season.

1. Unity

Can we end all the fighting? We have been at this for 18 months now and it’s exhausting. The merger talks, bickering between players, rumors of who might go to LIV next, complaints about OWGR… all of it sucks. Golf needs to be unified. The sport is small, on a regular week there are 2 million fans that tune in to watch the sport. The fighting is shrinking that number, no matter what Jon Rahm said after he was given hundreds of millions of dollars. All the fighting is dividing fans into groups of PGA Tour fans, LIV fans or former fans of professional golf. That is not a good thing for the long-term health of men’s professional golf.  My biggest hope for the holiday season is that the existing factions can come to some kind of agreement that brings all the best players back together.

2. Take a long hard look at the product

If the two competing tours reunite, the next thing that will have to happen is a reinvention of the product. Everything should be considered. Neither the PGA Tour nor LIV own any of the five most popular golf competitions (the four majors and the Ryder Cup). That should be unacceptable.

My general belief is that the creation of a good entertainment product can be achieved through the creation of the most intense competition possible. That would include limiting the number of total events, having cuts, instituting a hardline relegation system and making it more difficult to earn a spot in the best tournaments.

This may sound crazy and make some mules mad but I think the PGA Tour should consist of 50 exempt players and 15 tournaments, each with 100-player fields. I would like to see some variety in formats, too. There should be at least one or two match play events. In the PGA Tour events, non-exempt spots would be earned by players who played their way into the fields. It would create an absolutely ruthless system that rewards great play and imposes consequences on every player who doesn’t play well.

Non-exempt players would fall into a tour that’s a blend of the bottom half of the current PGA Tour and Korn Ferry Tour. It would be a fun mixture of big-name players who may have had a bad year and the young up-and-coming stars. Under this system, Justin Thomas and Adam Scott would play alongside Will Zalatoris and Ludvig Aberg in the second-tier events until they earned their way back into the top events. No more exemptions or parachutes.

3. Consider broadcast innovation

You can’t make it hard for fans to watch your sport. In recent years, NBC broadcasts have gotten worse, not better. They are loaded with commercials and their general strategy seems to be to cut costs at all times. Golf fans deserve better and in 2023 we shouldn’t be looking back at NBC broadcasts from 2016 and thinking about how good we had it.

The PGA Tour’s other broadcast partner, CBS, has improved immensely over the past three years. They have used improved cameras and have conducted great walk and talk interviews. They are not afraid to try new things. They should be commended but also pushed to continue to innovate. With a potential merger and infusion of cash coming, there will be an opportunity to reinvent the way the sport is televised. Broadcast partners should be asking themselves: Can we get some players mic’d up? Can we get more cameras and angles? Could we develop a product that shows every shot of a tournament?

4. Let’s stop talking about money

At some point in time, the PGA Tour that fans really wanted to hear about money. I am guessing this is because social media graphics about money always blow up. But I have news for the Tour: the average fan doesn’t care if Rory McIlroy wins 1.2 million at a tournament or $10 million. For most sports, the only time that money becomes a topic of conversation is in the offseason when players negotiate contracts. But money has nothing to do with thrilling competitive moments. LIV has turned golf into the sport that talks about money. And that’s a huge turn-off. We get it, these guys are getting paid. Now let’s move on.

5. Bring back Gold Boy

We need some humor and Gold Boy delivered at the 2022 Players!

This piece originally appeared in the Fried Egg Golf newsletter. Subscribe for free and receive golf news and insight every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.