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SBD/October 10, 2013/Leagues and Governing BodiesPrint All
Everything about the Frys.com Open "looks and feels like a new season" on the PGA Tour, "except for the calendar," according to Doug Ferguson of the AP. This is the "first time the tour starts its season in one calendar year and finishes it in another." Since the FedExCup began in '07, the tour had "a half-dozen events that were nothing more than playing opportunities for the restless or a time for others to make enough money to secure their cards for the following season." To "avoid losing sponsorship of the fall tournaments, the tour made them part" of the FedExCup season. Golfer John Senden said, "This new system has given these fall events greater credibility" (AP, 10/9). USA TODAY's Steve DiMeglio writes what "used to be a season-ending Fall Series is now an autumn springboard to the new season." Full FedExCup points "are available and for the first time a Masters berth awaits the winner of these former Fall Series events." The new season "bridges two years with 45 events in 43 weeks," including the four FedExCup Playoff events (USA TODAY, 10/10). GOLFCHANNEL.com's Rex Hoggard wrote, "By every measure these events are improvements over what they were last season, post-Tour Championship afterthoughts adrift in the fall abyss." Each of the fall events "now carry full FedEx Cup points and an invitation to the Masters, upgrades by any measure." But the "competitive reality of the Tour’s new split-calendar schedule will leave these freshly emboldened fall stops with fields that look a lot like the fields they had when they were entrenched in the Tour’s no-man’s land" (GOLFCHANNEL.com, 10/9).
ARE THERE ENOUGH BIG NAMES? In San Jose, Matt Schwab notes only one player in the World Golf Rankings top 30, Japan's Hideki Matsuyama, is "in the field that will begin play" today at CordeValle Golf Club. PGA Tour Exec VP & COO Andy Pazder said, "Compared to last year's field, we've seen a very, very significant improvement in the middle of the field, kind of the meat of the field. You look at the 31 through 125 group of players from last year, and it's a much, much stronger field." Frys.com Open attendance last year was less than 40,000, and Tournament President Duke Butler said that he is "expecting at least that many this week." Frys.com "struggled to land the marquee players because the tournament comes on the heels of the Presidents Cup and a grueling 2013 season." But Butler said that a more favorable tour schedule in '13-14 "could bring in more big names" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 10/10). The AP's Ferguson notes while the field "might not look that strong on paper, odds are that will change." Last year eight PGA Tour members "took part in an exhibition in Turkey called the World Golf Finals, held the same week as the Frys.com Open." In exchange for "a release from the tour, they agreed to play the Frys.com Open at least once over the next three years." Those players were Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood, Justin Rose, Hunter Mahan, Charl Schwartzel, Webb Simpson and Matt Kuchar (AP, 10/9).
AN END OF AWKWARDNESS: ESPN.com's Bob Harig wrote the move to a wraparound schedule "is a good one, even if we don't see a majority of big names competing." The simple way to handle it "would be to have no official PGA Tour events following the Tour Championship." But that "won't happen." The tour is about "offering playing opportunities, and it doesn't want to be on the sideline while Europe, Asia and Australia are offering those chances." So we have "these six tournaments, and if we're going to have them, they might as well count." It always was "awkward in the first six years of the FedEx Cup to have the Tour Championship followed by a handful of tournaments that counted toward the money list but not the FedEx Cup" (ESPN.com, 10/9).
The "ever-optimistic" L.A. City Council yesterday went on record "renewing a request to the NFL to return to the region with one or two professional football teams," according to Rick Orlov of the L.A. DAILY NEWS. Council member Tom LaBonge said, "At the start of this season, I said to myself that I was going to write a letter to (NFL Commissioner) Roger Goodell reminding them of our interest. I got a letter back from the League and some team owners saying they support the idea." Orlov notes, however, the NFL has made "similar statements in the past, but the 32 owners have refused to provide an expansion team for the area." Efforts "to convince an existing franchise to move" also have "been rejected." The city has a contract with AEG that expires in October '14, "giving the company the exclusive right to talk with the NFL for its planned Farmers Field stadium at LA Live." But LaBonge said that if it takes longer than that to convince the NFL, there are "other sites that could be used as temporary or permanent homes for a team." Council member Joe Buscaino said, "We have done our part. It’s time for the NFL to do its part. It’s our turn. It’s our time. We need to bring the Vince Lombardi trophy to the city of Los Angeles." NFL VP/Communications Brian McCarthy yesterday said that there are "no new developments now on the league looking to locate a team" in L.A. (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 10/10).
READY TO GO: In L.A., Bill Dwyre writes as far as the NFL and L.A. go, "all is quiet on the Western front." AEG's Farmers Field stadium plan is "a quieter effort" since former AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke left the company, as he was "effective, hard-charging, persuasive, but never quiet." AEG Chair Phil Anschutz "himself took over and is the opposite." However, "his quiet doesn't mean waning interest." Also still "on the front burner" is the Grand Crossing project in the City of Industry led by Majestic Realty Chair & CEO Ed Roski. Majestic VP John Semcken last week "in effect" said that the project, "having recently cleared some hurdles, is also now 'shovel-ready.'" Where the NFL "stands on any of this is unknown" (L.A. TIMES, 10/10).
CONVENTIONAL WISDOM: In L.A., Catherine Saillant reports the City Council yesterday agreed to pay AEG "up to $350,000 a year to operate the dated" L.A. Convention Center. The five-year contract "provides AEG an annual base fee of $175,000 with the potential to double that if it meets certain targets, such as raising revenues and bookings at the 1970s-era facility." The unanimous vote "culminated a nearly yearlong effort to find a private operator for the city-owned Convention Center and negotiate a contract that will benefit both the city and its new management team." Officials said that AEG's contract "will have no impact on a separate effort by AEG and the city to lure" an NFL team to L.A. (L.A. TIMES, 10/10).
FOXSPORTS.com reports Cardinals coach Bruce Arians is "leading the charge" against the league's newly adopted policy in which it can compel teams to participate in HBO's "Hard Knocks." Arians is "prepared to fight back against any attempt to force his team onto the 24/7 all-access show." Arians said in an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio on Tuesday, "It’s a total distraction, and I think it’s an embarrassment to players." Arians when asked if he would fight any attempted league mandate over his team said, "All the way" (FOXSPORTS.com, 10/10). 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said yesterday of the team potentially appearing on "Hard Knocks," "If that’s something we were in position to do, then we’d certainly do it." He added, "It’d be good if there was a, kind of a criteria." Harbaugh even wondered if the "selections would be based on how a team finished the previous year," comparing it "to how coaching staffs are chosen for the Pro Bowl and Senior Bowl" (49ERS.com, 10/9). Meanwhile, CBSSN's Jim Rome said, "Roger Goodell needs to bail out. If you're forcing teams to participate, ‘Hard Knocks’ has been knocked out and it needs to be put down" ("Rome," CBSSN, 10/9).
CULTURAL EXCHANGE: In Cleveland, Tom Reed reported the Browns have "a chance" to play in one of the NFL's games in London '14, as the team is "set to have 2014 'road' games" against the Jaguars and Falcons, two of the home teams for London named on Tuesday. The league "has yet to stage one of its 'International Series' games between division rivals," which increases the Browns' "odds of being selected." WR Davone Bess said, "I’m sure everybody is different, but for the most part it’s an opportunity to get abroad and be able to see a different part of the world." G Shawn Lauvao said, "It’s good for the league. It brings good publicity for the game and I think it would be good culturally for guys." LB Quentin Groves said that it also would "serve as a chance for the team and players to expand their brands" (CLEVELAND.com, 10/9). ESPN's Max Kellerman said, "The NFL needs to make inroads internationally wherever and whenever they can, and if they're responding well in Britain, then you've got to go there" ("SportsNation," ESPN2, 10/9).
INSINCERE CONCERN? In Chicago, Steve Rosenbloom wrote tonight's Giants-Bears game is "in keeping with the NFL’s hypocrisy about player safety concerns." It is "hard enough to recover in seven days, and here they are, being ordered to play after about a half-week." The NFL "puts players in danger and acts as if nobody’s noticing," then "puts it on TV" (CHICAGOTRIBUNE.com, 10/9).