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My Shot I'm bullish on all the fan-friendly changes you'll see on the Senior tour next season


Tour pros often think that hitting a golf ball is our sole job
requirement, but the fact is we are showmen, and we have a
responsibility to entertain and engage the fans and sponsors who
make it possible for us to earn a very nice living. That's why
I'm encouraged by the sweeping changes that, beginning next
year, could make the Senior tour the most interactive sports
entity in America.

Our tour has been around for 21 years and, frankly, could use
some updating. That's why we're giving the public a chance to
get up close and personal with the players. For starters, most
telecasts will be live, not tape-delayed, which was a mistake we
made this year. The players are also going to be asked to do
Internet chats and to participate in on-site clinics and
question-and-answer sessions. Some guys may grouse about losing
personal time, but we all know there's plenty of idle time
during a tournament week and we should spend more of it with the

To my mind the biggest changes will be TV's miking of selected
players during tournaments and permitting fans to walk down the
fairways of the final holes with the leaders on the weekend. The
mikes will force us to watch what we say, and while there'll
surely be slipups in the heat of battle, hearing the players
will bring increased intimacy. Most fans have no idea that a guy
like Joe Inman is every bit as funny as Chi Chi Rodriguez or Lee
Trevino. The folks at home are going to love listening to Joe
muttering to himself on the course. Fans walking the fairways
will add an air of electricity to the final stages of a
tournament. Yes, there are obvious security issues, and the
players will have to find polite ways to get into their preshot
routines without being rude to spectators, but these challenges
only underscore our commitment to reaching out to the people who
pay the bills.

How much will these changes help? Plenty, but the Senior tour
won't be revitalized overnight. Some of our efforts will be
successful and others won't. We're trying, though, and that's a
big step.

Bob Gilder led 2001 Senior rookies with $1.68 million in