PGA Tour changes inevitable, details to follow
MARANA, ARIZ. (AP) - No one is quick to embrace change until money is involved.
That’s one reason the Players Advisory Council gave its blessing last week to the concept of the Nationwide Tour being the primary path to the big leagues, PGA Tour cards being awarded in a three-tournament series and a new season starting in October instead of January.
It now goes to the policy board on March 27.
The details _ and there are many _ remain very much under discussion.
This is not just about making the developmental tour attractive to a new title sponsor. It’s about making the fall tournaments relevant, and the only way to do that is to include them in the FedEx Cup season. Otherwise, the likelihood is they would go away. That equates to as much as $24.3 million in prize money, not to mention the loss in charity money, the backbone of the PGA Tour.
“We’d be the first professional sport to vote down money,” said Joe Ogilvie, part of the 16-member PAC. “That’s what we would be doing if we voted it down. When you put it in those terms, a lot of guys went from, `We shouldn’t do this’ to `You kind of have to.’”
Change appears inevitable.
PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem suggested as much last week in an interview with the Los Angeles Daily News when he said that while the system is not broken, “we feel there’s a better way to do it.”
Even more telling was what followed.
Change will not be easy.
The original plan was to take the top 75 players from the Nationwide Tour and players who finished from No. 126 to No. 200 on the PGA Tour money list and have them play three tournaments, with the top 50 getting their tour cards.
The one detail causing the most consternation is how to blend players from two different tours.
As it is, the top 25 from the Nationwide Tour earn their cards. The tour is trying to make sure that most, if not all, of those 25 players are ranked in a way it would be virtually impossible for them not to earn cards in the three-tournament series.
But how to merge the others?