EARL BALL SPEAKS: Well; after all these years we finally moved the Tournament of Champions to the center of the State, to Sebring to give everyone an equal chance to reach the venue, and it’s a very nice venue. It was previously in one corner of the State, in Clearwater, also a very nice venue.
Everyone I talked to this morning was bewildered because the anticipated turnout didn’t materialize. Larry Brown walked by just before registration closed and said we had 70 signed up, off 23 from last year and thank goodness Sebring showed up. That’s means we only had 75% of what we had last season. I guess we can deduce from that that it was a good thing Clearwater showed up in the past years.
It seems to me that everyone considers Lakeland to be the last tournament of the season and unless you are chasing points for the Hall of Fame or trying to make the “Masters” there isn’t much reason to show up. Maybe the tournament needs to move more to the middle of the year.
I wonder what would happen if we switched the State sponsored, red line, doubles and the TOC. That would draw players that are not only qualified but are chasing points for the “Masters” and maybe they would reconsider when the season ends.
As you think about this situation you might also wish to consider if anything should be done with the “Masters”. Most of our players have gone home by the 1st week of April when the “Masters” is contested. Remember; the “Masters” was an add on in 1960 and since has become an important Tournament but it’s still just an add on.
Stan Speaks: I believe Earl’s article will provoke a GOOD DEAL OF DISCUSSION, and that is a PLUS. CHANGE is never easy, but without it we die!! However; it is essential we make the right change!! Please send along your ideas, your reaction to Earl’s thoughts.