Even though they are precise and descriptive, the terms "Open," "Championship," and "Invitational" are insufficient for some golf tournaments, or at least the corporate brandsmiths who shape them. Normally I'd bristle at the name of this week's event - the Charles Schwab Challenge - but I'll let it slide because I'm just relieved to be seeing live, televised PGA Tour golf again. "Challenge" turns out to be an appropriate descriptor, anyway. The players, as always, are challenging each other for dominance and dollars, while the PGA Tour itself is challenged to present a successfully safe product at a crucial sports moment.
In the three months since commissioner Jay Monahan put a stop to The Players Championship and the PGA Tour season, the two tasty amuse-bouches in TaylorMade Driving Relief and The Match: Champions for Charity have been nice diversions. And they both did the hearts of golf fans some good, as well as several noble coronavirus pandemic-fighting causes. But they were no substitute from the large fields full of the best in the world at their chosen trade that produce the quality week-in-week-out golf to which most of us have been accustomed throughout our lives.
As I watched some PGA Tour Live and Golf Channel coverage of the tournament yesterday, it was hard not to feel a noticeable bit of release from the tight-chest feeling that's accompanied the across-the-board stoppage of televised sport. I am not alone among people who have realized what a psychic diversion televised live competition provides, especially in such turbulent times as have come upon us. The quietness of the telecast - stripped-down staff, no fan murmur, no stands - hammered home the message that things aren't normal, but we're getting there. For now, that's what we need.