SBD/August 8, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

FedExCup Playoffs To Be Played On Consecutive Weeks In '14 For Ryder Cup Break

Watson's U.S. Ryder Cup team will now have week off before '14 event
The PGA Tour is "prepared to make a change to its schedule in 2014 to accommodate the PGA of America and U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson," according to Bob Harig of ESPN.com. PGA of America President Ted Bishop yesterday said that the Tour has "agreed to stage all four of its FedEx Cup playoff events in consecutive weeks to give players a break before heading to the Ryder Cup." The event is scheduled for Sept. 26-28, 2014, and "would have immediately followed the PGA Tour's final event, the Tour Championship." Next year's schedule "would mean there is no break during the four-tournament series." There is a week off between the Deutsche Bank Championship and the BMW Championship this year. Bishop acknowledged that there was "some give and take" with PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem "over this issue." Finchem "successfully lobbied the PGA of America to abandon its marketing slogan 'Glory's Last Shot' for the PGA Championship in exchange for the date switch." Bishop said of Finchem, "He was very provocative and emphasized the fact that the PGA Championship is the strongest field in major golf, that it stands on its own merits and that there was golf that was played after the PGA Championship, most notably the FedEx Cup" (ESPN.com, 8/7). Meanwhile, Bishop earlier this week insinuated the PGA Championship could be played earlier than normal in '16, as the Rio Games will occur during the time of year the tournament is normally held. He said, "We haven't set a date yet for 2016, but I doubt very seriously if it would be after Labor Day. I would think what you're going to see in 2016 probably would be a sliding forward of the majors" ("Morning Drive," Golf Channel, 8/6).

THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER? The AP's Doug Ferguson wrote in order to give the PGA Championship a clearer identity, officials should "consider making less money from TV revenue and move it to October." There are only two weeks between the British Open and the PGA this year, and the PGA of America "can do better -- not only for the players, but for the marketing of a major that lags well behind the other three in popularity." The short gap after the British Open "just keeps the PGA Championship from getting the buildup it deserves." October works because "in this global game, it fits the international schedule perfectly." A month after the British Open, the PGA Tour "begins its lucrative FedEx Cup playoffs until the end of September," and a month later, the European Tour "begins its Race to Dubai with a series of tournaments in Asia." In between "would be the final major of the year." For those who "care nothing about golf except for the majors ... this gives them one last event to anticipate in the fall." In Ryder Cup years, the matches "could be played in August instead of a month later" (AP, 8/5).
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