Several PGA Tour Events Could See Larger Fields Due To Shorter Season In '13
A shorter PGA Tour season next year “will mean slightly larger fields for as many as nine tournaments,” according to Doug Ferguson of the AP. The move is “designed to help players who earn their cards through Q-school or the Web.com Tour.” PGA Tour Exec VP & COO Andy Pazder said the change in the schedule will result in "four fewer tournaments, and that puts a strain on playing opportunities.” Ferguson reports the PGA Tour’s policy board is asking certain tournaments “to expand their fields for only 2013.” Tournaments in March and April “typically have 144 players because of earlier sunsets,” but now some of them “are being asked to expand those fields to 156 players.” The Arnold Palmer Invitational, AT&T National and Crowne Plaza Invitational “are likely to go from 120 players to 132 players.” The Memorial was “spared from the list” as it recently “agreed to ramp up its field from 105 players to 120 players.” Tournaments typically have “eight sponsor exemptions -- two designated for tour members not eligible (such as John Daly), two for Q-school and Web.com graduates and four unrestricted.” The formula for next year will be “only two unrestricted exemptions, and four exemptions set aside for Q-school and Web.com grads.” The PGA Tour also is “doing away with the commissioner’s exemption for foreign players” (AP, 7/31).
MINI GOLF: GOLFWEEK’s Gene Yasuda wrote a “newly created team version of golf -- endorsed by the PGA of America -- not only may raise the sport’s profile, but could be the long-awaited catalyst the golf industry has been seeking to spark interest among youth and their parents.” Industry leaders hope the PGA Junior League Golf "will be golf’s answer to Little League Baseball.” The PGA Junior League features teams with “as many as 14 players on a roster -- all adorned in team jerseys (with uniform numbers on their backs)." Head-to-head matches against other teams “are conducted as two-person scrambles.” Coaches are “allowed to substitute players every three holes” (GOLFWEEK.com, 7/30).