12/03/2015

Recently in golf, despite the offseason, there has been plenty to talk about.

Now while the PGA Tour’s new requirement on tournament schedule is what I would like to talk about, it may have been drowned in some other developments in golf.

First, the golf world went up in arms after the USGA announcement to change the way handicaps would be posted and views. Below is a tweet with a link to the story on the changes, mainly the change to posting scores in rounds played alone– something which will “not be allowed” in 2016.

People weren’t pleased.

Next, Tiger Woods came out in an interview conducted with Lorne Rubenstein that took the Twitter wires by craze. It was potentially, Woods’ most candid interview he’s given in his career and the fact that it was published by Time and comes fully equipped with videos done by Golf.com to help add to the drama.

It was thought out content, with great, leading questioning from Rubenstein. All in all, it was a revealing take into what Tiger is thinking about his golf career as he closes in on age 40 here at the end of December. Absolutely a must read.

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But in the middle of all of the added news, was a change to the PGA Tour tournament schedule requirements.

The PGA Tour approved on November 22nd, with it’s board members, that starting in 2016-2017 (next season), PGA Tour members will be forced to participate in an event in which they otherwise have not in at least four years.

The change was designed to inject energy into events which have grown stagnant through encouraging the elite names in the sport to compete at them. Simple conclusion to a growing problem on the PGA Tour.

I love it.

Every week, I write previews covering the PGA Tour event for the week. Some weeks (the Greenbrier, the Valero Texas Open, the Northern Trust, John Deere Classic, Wyndham etc.) seem to have 1-2 headliners and no one else inside the top-20. This change is going to help create more buzz and get some more top talent involved.

Now I think the “struggling” events could be fixed with a simple change in venue to a few of the events played at underwhelming facilities. I know there are logistical issues to take into account, but there are a number of the fantastic designs in the Golf Digest Top-100 which go unused by the world’s most famous circuit of golfers.

There was an interesting caveat, one I agree with:

“Any player who participated in 25 or more official money events during the current or previous season is exempt from the requirement.”

It’s good to see that the players who already play a heavy tournament schedule aren’t being subjected to this. This is a direct affront to players who have grown comfortable in their schedules.

Spieth played 25 tournaments last year. Matsuyama played 25 times. Patrick Reed played 27 times. It’s nothing compared to Danny Lee’s 36 events, but it’s still a bevy of golf. Twenty-five is a big number. Everyone else under 25 events (which is a lot) will be forced to spread their participation out a little more. It will be good for the game.

And the punishment, you ask, for players who don’t oblige? A $20,000 fine or a possible suspension. Let’s hope it’s the latter. The $20,000 won’t effect these top dogs, so let’s make sure they find a few event and familiarize themselves with that local fan base.

This will be a change that will have a positive impact on the game.

Rickie in Quad Cities to battle Zach Johnson & Jordan Spieth in Iowa? I like the sounds of it.

Glad to see the change made.