PGA Tour could use a dose of European flexibility

Because of weather concerns, the European Tour's Portugal Masters will adjust to a shotgun start Saturday. Perhaps the PGA Tour use some of that European creativity in its tournaments. Andrew Redington/Getty Images

The news came early Friday from the European Tour: Because of weather concerns at the Portugal Masters, the impending third round will be played as a shotgun start.

Almost immediately, social media reaction likened it to any other shotgun start featuring mere mortal golfers.

Is it a shamble format? Can players buy mulligans in the pro shop? Will there be a long-drive contest? Closest to the pin? How many beverage carts are out there?

All joking aside, it's a brilliant move by the Euro Tour, which has always been more aggressive than its PGA Tour counterpart in offering creative ways to complete its events. Just three years ago, the Nelson Mandela Championship was played as a par-65 on a course shortened by 1,600 yards because of heavy rains.

Hey, whatever it takes, right?

But I've often wondered why major televised golf tours don't sporadically offer a shotgun start, simply for the fan experience.

Think about it: In the opening two rounds of any event, you're able to catch your favorite player on live television for only one of those days. Sending a large portion of the field out in a shotgun start would afford television networks the chance to cover a greater variety of players while giving viewers a better chance of catching their favorites.

It would also enhance the chances of being able to finish in a given day. The opening round of the 2015-16 PGA Tour season started Thursday -- and guess what? It didn't conclude until Friday.

I'm not trying to insist that a shotgun start would end those struggles or should be used as a rule rather than the exception. That's not the point here.

What I am contending is that the game could use more creativity. A lot more. About 98 percent of all tournaments on all major tours are 72-hole stroke-play events that are contested beginning on Thursday and ending on Sunday. There's something to say for consistency, but being creative and implementing new ideas shouldn't be so verboten.

Start a tournament on a Wednesday. End it on a Saturday. Finish under some lights in prime time. Mix up the format.

Golf has proved too stagnant, too resistant to change over past generations. Sure, some ideas won't work -- and that's all right. But some will. You never know until you try.

A shotgun start? On a major golf tour? It sounds like something that would never happen, the absolute antithesis of what we've come to know as traditional tournament proceedings.

That's exactly why it's worth a try.