SBD/October 17, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

New PGA Tour Schedule Could Help Fall Tourneys, But Improved Fields Not Guaranteed

Watney is not sure the new schedule will bring more top players to fall events
The PGA Tour's new schedule "might take a while for everyone to wrap their hands around," according to Bill Fields of GOLF WORLD. McGladrey Classic Tournament Dir Scott Reid said, "It's going to be a learning year not only for the events that are impacted but the players as well." Since the advent of the FedExCup Playoffs in '07, such an "evolution on the PGA Tour seemed inevitable because of the awkward positioning of the tournaments played as the 'Fall Series' after the Tour Championship." Although Commissioner Tim Finchem "contends of the former Fall Series events that 'we wouldn't have lost them,' their sponsors weren't keen about the old, diminished arrangement." Golfer Nick Watney said, "It needed to be done to save those tournaments." Fields notes what Shriners Hospitals for Children Open Tournament Dir Adam Sperling and other former fall events "can't control is which players will show up." There are 45 tournaments on the new schedule and "many golfers don't play in much more than half of them." The tour's elite, including Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, "competes less frequently than that, and rarely at new locations." Watney said, "They want more of the top players to play in the fall events, but I don't know if (the new calendar) is going to do that." For upper-tier players, what is "likely getting their attention is not the front end of the new season but the back." In '14, the four FedExCup Playoff events will be "held in successive weeks instead of including a week off as has been the case for four of the last six years." There will then be "a one-week break between the Tour Championship and the Ryder Cup." Golfer Henrik Stenson said, "That will potentially make one of the guys leave one of the playoff events off his schedule" (GOLF WORLD, 10/21 issue).

A GOOD WALK SPOILED? ESPN.com's Bob Harig wrote, "A new PGA Tour season is underway and Tiger Woods is not exactly sure what to make of it." Woods on Tuesday said, "For me, I'm still wrapping my head around it. ... I think it's going to take a little bit of time to get accustomed to. Some of the guys are playing in the local areas ... some are going overseas. This is something that is very different to us in our sport. Other sports it's the norm." Woods added, "The whole idea of ending the season earlier was to give us a break. ... It's going to be interesting to find our break time now with this scheduling" (ESPN.com, 10/15).

VEGAS, BABY: In Las Vegas, Steve Carp noted this year's Shriners Hospitals for Children Open is "proving to have one of its strongest fields in years," with six players who "have won majors, six who are in the top 50 in the World Golf rankings, six who participated in the recent President's Cup and 23 who have won on Tour in the past two years." It "didn't hurt having an upgraded purse" of $6M, with the winner earning $1.8M (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 10/14).
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