The one thing the Web.com Tour needs, understands and most likely appreciates is some prime television exposure.
Golf’s equivalent of Triple-A baseball started its season Sunday down there in the Bahamas where the wind typically blows these young guys out of their Foot-Joys.
They call it the Bahamas Great Exuma Classic which sounds more like a fishing tournament but the Web.comers are there at Sandals Resort with high hopes and the overwhelming desire to find there way to The Show, which in their case is the PGA Tour.
Good things happened in the first round, the wind was not overwhelming, simply there, just enough to be challenging.
There were on-the-course, mid-round interviews. The PGA Tour can pretty much tell these kids what to do and for the most part, they’re young and digging the fact that someone is paying attention to them.
Former ace-amateur Maverick McNealy let them mic him up. You could hear all this conversations with his caddy, it was much better than the Phil-and-Tiger mics.
For the record, McNealy opened with 69.
The only disappointment and it was a big one — was that play was slow. Same disease that afflicts the PGA Tour. They couldn’t finish before darkness set in and when you consider the Bahamas are far enough south to have enough daylight, yes, play was slow.
So slow that it left the hottest guy in the field stranded after 15 holes when they blew the horns. John Oda, a guy from Hawaii, has only conditional status yet there he was — eight-under par through 15 holes and destined for the first-round lead.
Lee McCoy posted a first round 66. He needs it because he, like Oda, has only conditional status.
Willy Wilcox shot 66. How can you not like a guy named Willy Wilcox?
Norman Xiong is supposed to be the next big thing if you listen to his college coach — Casey Martin. If Martin’s name sounds familiar, he was teammates with Tiger Woods at Stanford and played the PGA Tour for a few years before a chronic leg condition took its toll. Martin says Xiong is the best college player he’s seen since Tiger. Talk about expectations?
Unfortunately for Xiong, his Web.com career got off to a shaky start. He finished day one with a four-over par 76 and when someone’s mentioning your name in the same breath as Tiger Woods, well, Norm found out this pro golf stuff isn’t all that easy as Tiger made it look.
So the Web.com is underway. They’ll finish round one on Monday and hopefully get the thing back on schedule.
In the meantime, we can watch some Triple-A ball the next few days.