PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem Sunday gave Kapalua “a ringing endorsement” as the location for the Tournament of Champions, according to Paul Arnett of the Honolulu STAR ADVERTISER. There was speculation that the season-opening event “might be headed down another cart path in the near future,” as the tournament this year featured “the smallest field since this winners-only event moved” to Kapalua in ’99. But Finchem repeatedly said that he is "pleased about this week.” Several ideas “have been floated, including moving the start of the season back two weeks to give players a little more time off and flexibility with their scheduling.” Another idea is “having the winners from the European Tour also be eligible.” Finchem “doesn’t want to shift tournaments around and then cause a domino effect.” He said that the tournament’s title sponsor, Hyundai, “is happy here.” In the second year of its title sponsorship, Finchem said that the “powers that be are pleased with the arrangement.” The Plantation Course is “also still part of the plan.” Arnett noted one change the Tour made from last year was “having the tournament end on Monday to avoid the NFL playoffs and giving the Hyundai people who make the trip out here an extra day to schedule since the event begins so close to the holiday season.” Finchem said, “It doesn’t seem like much. But it is important” (Honolulu STAR ADVERTISER, 1/9). Finchem said, "From a tour standpoint and a sponsor standpoint, we think this is a great week this week -- I don't want to understate that. It is a great tournament" (MAUI NEWS, 1/10). The event included just 27 golfers (Lucas Glover was a late scratch) and GOLF WORLD MONDAY’s Dave Shedloski wrote this past weekend’s “no-shows hurt the quality of the field." The average World Ranking of "those in attendance was 82nd compared to the 11 missing with an average of 17th, and six of the missing 11 were ranked in the top 10.” It is “difficult to assess whether it is location, time of year, seemingly endless pots of gold or the global gold schedule essentially stretched over the entire calendar that is having an adverse effect on a tournament assumed to be of marquee quality.” But the Tour needs some “new thinking, new possibilities” for the event, and "that means more than window dressing like a Monday finish.” Shedloski: “Frankly, all concerned parties deserve better” (GOLF WORLD MONDAY, 1/9 issue).
PAY FOR PLAY: Int'l Sports Management agent Chubby Chandler appeared on Golf Channel's "Morning Drive" today and discussed the concept of players receiving an appearance fee to play events. The practice is not allowed on the PGA Tour but is used on the European Tour. Chandler said, "Whatever way you can make a field up, you have to look at that. I think tournaments in the States that are in bad days, they need to have a couple of guys that are ambassadors or do some promotion work. ... You can’t advertise somebody’s playing until they enter, so if you don’t get somebody committing then how do you tell the public who’s going to be there? So I think there is a place for tournaments to have a budget to help make that tournament successful” (“Morning Drive,” Golf Channel, 1/10).