The PGA Tour policy board “has decided to award full FedExCup points to the tournaments that come after the season-ending Tour Championship,” according to Doug Ferguson of the AP. The move is “one step in trying to shore up plans for a new season that will start in October 2013 and conclude with the Tour Championship in September 2014." The FedExCup for the past five years has “ended in September with the Tour Championship.” The Fall Series events that followed “only awarded prize money to determine the top 125 players on the money list who kept their full cards.” Still to be decided is “a major part of the puzzle -- determining how players get their cards.” Instead of Q-school, the Tour “already has approved a plan to merge the top 75 players from the Nationwide Tour with PGA Tour players who finish from No. 126-200 on the money list for a three-tournament series.” Fifty full tour cards will be awarded. Tour officials have been “retooling various options, though no consensus has been reached on a model” (AP, 6/26). GOLF WEEK’s Sean Martin wrote the Tour’s decision to award full FedExCup points to Fall Series events was “the correct choice,” as sponsors “weren’t going to spend millions of dollars for second-class status.” The decision was “meant to please” the sponsors. But the move for players “makes things a little more complicated,” as the FedExCup is “now almost a year-round race.” Star players, those with “the liberty to pick where they appear, will only play so many weeks each year.” Martin wrote, “Only time will tell how this change impacts the fields of fall events. But I’ll bet the impact will be difficult to see” (GOLFWEEK.com, 6/26).
LEGENDS OF THE FALL? WRC-TV’s Dan Hellie said the move to start the season in the fall is "obviously to appease the sponsors," but the Tour has "always said they don't want to go head-to-head with football." Hellie: "Now you’re going to start your season when football season starts? I don't think it’s going to create or generate that interest that they're looking for, and I'm not sure that they’re going to have better fields in all these events, which is what they're hoping for.” Golf Channel’s Gary Williams said, “It's a contradiction considering they created the FedExCup to end the season so you didn't bring the curtain down on Phil and Tiger and get them to play a little bit more competitive golf after the last major championship of the year. You're contradicting yourself because you’re going to butt heads with the National Football League into the month of October.” Golf Channel’s Alex Miceli: “It took two or three years to figure out the FedExCup playoffs. This thing can’t take two or three years. It's got to be right the first time” (“Morning Drive,” Golf Channel, 6/27).
The NHL and NHLPA are "scheduled to kick off formal talks on a new collective bargaining agreement in New York on Friday," according to sources cited by Chris Johnston of the CP. The union has gathered 53 players "together for three days of comprehensive meetings before talks open." They were "split into three breakout groups on Tuesday afternoon and combed over a number of topics expected to be raised during CBA discussions -- everything from desired changes to the current financial system to player safety and on-ice issues." Blues C David Backes said, "The league's doing really well. There's been increased revenues -- record revenues -- every year. It's on a track that seems like almost exponential growth, to halt that would be a shame on both sides. We're looking for something that's fair, we're not looking to clean house." The NHLPA is "expected to unveil a negotiating team of more than 30 players when the executive board meetings wrap up" today. Having a group "that large at the table is one of many changes" NHLPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr has made since taking over the union in December '10. His presence and approach "has been a breath of fresh air for long-time members." Blackhawks D Steve Montador said, "It's like we've been taught again what the definition of collective bargaining is and why there are unions and why people collectively bargain. It's been a great reset" (CP, 6/26). In Chicago, Chris Kuc notes during the NHLPA Exec Board meetings in Chicago yesterday, the union "mapped out its strategy to the players in attendance for upcoming labor negotiations with the league regarding a new collective bargaining agreement." Capitals RW Troy Brouwer said, "The guys are headed in the right direction with their views and how we want to carry forward." Blackhawks RW Jamal Mayers said, "We made a lot of huge concessions last time and certainly there are going to be issues that arise. The league for the last seven years has seen revenues grow. I'm sure they'll have their angle on things. My hope is that we can get a deal done" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/27).
Saints QB Drew Brees said that the NFL “has yet to provide evidence that proves the Saints paid out bounties to players who intentionally sought to injure opponents.” Brees: "There's been an investigation, there's been a lot of stuff put in the media as to what was going on, but has there been anything to back it up? No, there's not. Not yet." He added, "A lot of those coaches were living in fear of their careers if they didn't 'cooperate.' I'm not convinced that some of those words and some of those statements were actually theirs” (NEWSDAY, 6/27).
BACK TO SCHOOL:In Chicago, Matt Bowen noted the NFL is holding its rookie symposium and the players' attendance is “now divided by conference (NFC: Sunday-Wednesday, AFC: Wednesday-Saturday)." The symposium will "focus on four main areas of education: NFL history, experience, player expectations, professional and social responsibility.” NFL VP/Player Development Troy Vincent said, "We divided the participation level in half.” He added, "I'm now dealing with less than 140 per session. Now when I get them into those breakout sessions, I'm dealing with 20-25 guys." Vincent said of the new format, "This is no longer a three-day orientation of what not to do. Absolutely not. We are going to talk about this NFL experience. Adam [Pacman Jones] brings a testimony. Michael Irvin brings a testimony. Aeneas Williams, Hardy Nickerson, Ross Tucker. We have a variation of different people from different walks of life" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/26).
CURIOSITY ABOUNDS? In Ft. Worth, Mac Engel wrote, "There is more than curiosity for the return of F1 to the U.S. Or there better be more than curiosity.” Engel: “As we have seen before, curiosity among U.S. race fans for this European product has been the death of this series in the U.S. Curiosity can sell tickets for about a year or two. Maybe three. Only a genuine interest and a following is going to make this a sustainable venture.” Engel continued: “Personally, I am jazzed that F1 is coming back to the U.S., even if it does mean that one of the worst people in the international sports scene -- F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone -- is back in this country. My feeling remains the U.S. should never even have considered F1 until Ecclestone is out” (STAR-TELEGRAM.com, 6/25).
OPTING OUT: The National Lacrosse League’s BOG has “opted out of the current collective bargaining agreement, which had two years to run.” The recently completed ‘12 season was “the fifth year of a seven-year agreement that was agreed to prior” to the ‘08 season. The agreement “provided for either party the right to opt out of the final two years of the agreement (2013 and 2014 seasons).” The vote was taken Monday at the annual NLL BOG’s Meetings in N.Y. NLL Commissioner George Daniel earlier this year had said that “economic conditions for the league had changed since 2008” (BUFFALONEWS, 6/25).