As a former multisport athlete in hoops and baseball, the beauty of ramping up for college basketball season is that I could miss it from April through November.
On the PGA Tour, without time off from the game due to the wraparound schedule, the very best golfers in the world now don't get that luxury. They are headed down the path of burnout and resentment.
There is a line where an athlete's love and inspiration for sport can start to disappear. Ultimately it can become what they all don't want it to be -- a job. The best champions had a time when their sport dominated their life. Then relationships happen. Kids happen. Or burnout happens.
Believe me, I know most normal, working-class people might have a hard time feeling sorry for someone losing his love for golf and the riches that come with it. But remember, it's all relative.
I traveled for the WWE for a full decade. Four days a week, 51 weeks a year. I loved performing every single night in front of thousands of fans in every city you can imagine all around the world. There came a time, though, when because of the lack of an offseason, it was more about the journey than the destination. I never wanted it to be that way.
As much as I still love the WWE, I firmly believe that the superstars, divas, crew, and most importantly the fans would benefit from a week or two (or four) off a year. How can you truly miss something -- or know if you are giving it everything you have -- if you never stop?
With the PGA Tour's wraparound schedule, which has been in existence since October 2013, players are starting to openly complain and show up only because the tour has forced their hand.
"It's stupid," said three-time PGA Tour winner Boo Weekley in November. "I still ain't figured out this FedEx -- what does this FedEx Cup stuff do? It ain't doing nothing, but it is what it is. It's supposed to be the players' tour. It's [commissioner] Tim Finchem and them's tour is what it is.
"It's aggravating having to play this much, but yet it's important to come out and try to get a good start."
If the top players don't start playing in the fall and wait until the beginning of the calendar year, they could be as many as six tournaments behind their peers. That translates into potential losses in the millions by August when they get to the FedEx Cup playoffs.
Two-time major champion Martin Kaymer, who earned a five-year PGA Tour exemption for his 2014 U.S. Open victory, lost his playing privileges because he didn't compete in the minimum number of events (15) during the 2014-15 season. The reason? He had built the FedEx Cup playoffs into his planned schedule and a so-so season meant he teed it up only 13 times on the PGA Tour and didn't qualify for the playoffs.
Kaymer rarely played last fall on the PGA Tour, skipping all but the WGC-HSBC Champions event in China. Now he can't apply for membership again until the 2016-17 season.
On the flip side, 2010 U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell struggled during most of the 2014-15 campaign with more missed cuts (six) than top-10s (one). So the Northern Irishman decided to skip the end of the 2015 European Tour schedule (and the lucrative Race to Dubai) to get a head start on his 2015-16 season on the PGA Tour.
The move paid off as McDowell won the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in November, securing his card for two more years and letting him breathe easier at the start of 2016.
For the young players, the wraparound schedule is a great situation. For the stars who have the juice and are the reasons people come out to watch in person -- and more importantly on TV -- the situation is not a win.
Most fans aren't golf freaks like me. I will watch anything. Most will watch only if Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy or Tiger Woods is teeing it up.
The game all comes down to money. We get it. Competition in the sports world is at an all-time high -- a day not working is money lost. For franchises and leagues at the top of the food chain, that can mean a loss of revenue and sponsorship dollars.
In a country dominated by the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball, those leagues maximize their schedules to play as many games as possible within their regular season and then monetize the playoffs. The key word? Season.
In the long run, the bottom line is going to suffer if the PGA Tour doesn't give these players more time off.
It might take years, but this wraparound plan will backfire. Let's just hope the commissioner realizes his mistake before it's too late.