Punch Shot: Should Tour play more global events?

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 29, 2014, 1:30 pm

The PGA Tour is playing in Malaysia, China and Mexico over the next three weeks. Should it stray more often from the U.S.? GolfChannel.com writers weigh in on whether or not the Tour should play more international events.

By JASON SOBEL

It’s a prototypical double-edged sword, this business of questioning whether the PGA Tour should have more international events.

On the one hand, the suits in Camp Ponte Vedra should embrace the global expansion that has seen more NFL, NBA and MLB games contested abroad in recent years. On the other, one of the Tour’s jobs is to provide a worthy schedule for its constituency  and turning that schedule into a globetrotting exhibition that only a frequent flier like Gary Player could love wouldn’t exactly accomplish that goal.

While it sounds like a terrific idea on paper  or in a boardroom  the act of bringing more tourneys worldwide wouldn’t be met with open arms by the players. Just check out this week’s CIMB Classic field, a no-cut, guaranteed-money affair which went low enough on the alternate list that the likes of Nicholas Thompson, Roberto Castro and Will Wilcox have earned spots, not to mention numerous players from smaller circuits around the world.

If the PGA Tour could be guaranteed more starts from more top players at these events, I’d be all for it. Hey, it works for the LPGA. But having players travel the globe only to hold tournaments in places like Malaysia with fields that resemble the John Deere Classic seems counterproductive to the overall message.


By REX HOGGARD

It is a welcome period for the PGA Tour, three weeks, three tournaments played outside the confines of the Lower 48. It’s also a far too rare occurrence.

The next two weeks in Asia will showcase the Tour’s talent, but will also cast a spotlight on the circuit’s inability, or unwillingness, to take the circus on the road.

Outside of this Asia swing, and the occasional cameo at the Open Championship and to Canada or Mexico, the Tour has become far too insular for the modern world. It’s time for the circuit to travel and what better place to start than the four World Golf Championships events.

Other than next week’s WGC-HSBC Champions in China, the three “world” events are played at such far-flung places as Miami, Akron, Ohio, and San Francisco.

The buzzword in golf has long been growth – it is, after all, why the game returned to the Olympics in 2016 – and what better way to spark interest in developing markets than to ship the WGC-Match Play to Buenos Aires or Kuala Lumpur?

There was even talk last year of possibly sending the PGA Championship overseas, wherever that may be. What is certain, there are plenty of opportunities around the globe for the Tour to choose from.


By RYAN LAVNER

Every golf fan should want to see an additional event or two internationally during the heart of the PGA Tour schedule, but it’s easy to see why the Tour stays home from mid-January to late October.

It’s not the simplest fix, logistically.

Putting the “world” back in three of the World Golf Championships  and thus moving one of the premier events somewhere other than the continental U.S. – is the easiest to justify, but even that shift comes with its share of headaches.

The WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral is in the midst of the Florida swing. The WGC-Match Play, now scheduled for the final weekend in April, is the week before The Players Championship, the Tour’s flagship event. And the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational is always the week before the PGA Championship. Moving any of those events would cause a trickle-down effect and affect the participation in either the WGC event or the tournaments surrounding it. In other words, it’s not worth it. 


By RANDALL MELL

The idea of taking more PGA Tour events overseas sounds appealing, but, unfortunately, it’s not practical. Remember what happened when the Tour took its Match Play Championship to Metropolitan Golf Club in Melbourne, Australia, at the start of the 2001 season? The game’s biggest stars didn’t go. Six of the top seven players in the world stayed home, including world No. 1 Tiger Woods, No. 3 David Duval and No. 4 Phil Mickelson.

Seeing iconic international venues appeals, but seeing the game’s biggest stars play together appeals more. Unless it’s to play in a major championship, or for a large appearance fee, it’s unlikely the PGA Tour will induce the lion’s share of its stars to travel overseas for a one-off event. An occasional PGA Championship overseas would work. Something in Europe before a British Open probably works, too, but it would feel like a hostile invasion of European Tour territory. Really, so many of Europe’s top stars are already living in South Florida. The World Golf Championship name may seem a misnomer with all but one of those events being played in the United States, but all the world’s stars are showing up for them when they are here. They work best in the U.S.


By WILL GRAY

The PGA Tour probably doesn't need to add many more international events - the 10,000-mile commute that players faced this week from Georgia to Malaysia shows that a global schedule certainly has its drawbacks. But the Tour still should do a better job of diversifying its international outposts.

I'm sure Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club, host of this week's CIMB Classic, is a fine course. But it doesn't stack up well against many courses in Australia, and certainly at least a few in South Africa. Just because the Tour is international doesn't mean it's hitting the right venues, or markets.

Next week's WGC-HSBC Champions is the lone WGC event played outside the U.S., a fact that the Tour would be well-served to rectify. At least two of those four events should require a passport, ideally with a rotation of venues across several countries. Likewise, the PGA Championship appears poised to consider an international venue at some point in the near future, a choice that would boost the game.

There are plenty of world-class venues in top-notch travel destinations outside the U.S. The Tour doesn't have to find them all, but adding one or two to the schedule each year would be a step in the right direction as golf continues to become an increasingly global affair.

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Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

"That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.