Condensed 2013 Tour season will mean bigger fields

By Rex HoggardOctober 29, 2012, 9:52 pm

From January through September, the 2013 PGA Tour schedule is a virtual replica of this year’s lineup, but then next season is about much more than what occurs before Labor Day.

Beginning with the Open (Oct. 10-13), the Tour will go to a split-calendar schedule, which means the loss of what were the Fall Series events and Mayakoba Golf Classic, which was played the same week as the WGC-Accenture Match Play this year but will be moved to the fall next season. In practical terms, that’s a loss of some 600 playing opportunities in 2013.

In an attempt to mitigate that loss, the Tour has requested that eight tournaments increase their field sizes in 2013. The Arnold Palmer Invitational, Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial and AT&T National will bump up their field sizes from 120 to 132, while the Heritage is going up to 144 players from 132.

“We understood why they are doing it, and Mr. Palmer was happy to oblige,” said Scott Wellington, the API's tournament director. “Tour officials were particularly concerned with getting guys more starts in the spring.”

The Humana Challenge, Tampa Bay Championship, Shell Houston Open and Valero Texas Open also bumped up their field sizes (from 144 to 156), while stops at Torrey Pines (156) and Phoenix (132) were unable to accommodate more players due to daylight constraints.

Overall, officials estimate Q-School and Tour graduates will have about five fewer starts in 2013 as the Tour transitions to the new schedule. The increases were made in an attempt to bolster playing opportunities early in the season.

“It was more trying to focus on players coming off the Tour and Q-School and trying to maximize the starts they had,” said Andy Pazder, the Tour’s executive vice president and chief of operations. “But there will also be fewer starts for the exempt players. The average playing start for all our categories is going down.”

Tour officials will also try to lessen the impact of the condensed season by reducing the number of unrestricted sponsor exemptions tournament directors can issue. Normally there are four unrestricted sponsor exemptions, although that total varies from tournament to tournament, but next season those will be reduced with more exemptions going to Q-School and Tour graduates.

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Rory: Phil said RC task force just copied Europe

By Randall MellFebruary 21, 2018, 7:21 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Playing the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am two weeks ago, Rory McIlroy quizzed Phil Mickelson about what the Americans got out of the U.S. Ryder Cup task force’s overhaul.

McIlroy and Mickelson were paired together at Pebble Beach.

“Basically, all they are doing is copying what the Europeans have done,” McIlroy said.  “That's what he said.”

The Europeans claimed their sixth of seven Ryder Cups with their victory at Gleneagles in 2014. That brought about a sea change in the way the United States approached the Ryder Cup. Mickelson called out the tactics in Gleneagles of captain Tom Watson, who was outmaneuvered by European captain Paul McGinley.

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The Americans defeated Europe at Hazeltine two years ago with that new European model.

“He said the first thing they did in that task force was Phil played a video, a 12-minute video of Paul McGinley to all of them,” McIlroy said. “So, they are copying what we do, and it's working for them. It's more cohesive, and the team and the core of that team are more in control of what they are doing, instead of the PGA of America recruiting and someone telling them what to do.”

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Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

By Tiger TrackerFebruary 21, 2018, 7:00 pm

Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

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Woods happy to help Furyk at Ryder Cup

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 21, 2018, 6:58 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Tiger Woods didn't hesitate when Jim Furyk asked him to become a vice captain at the upcoming Ryder Cup.

Woods said Wednesday that Furyk asked he and Steve Stricker “a while ago” whether they were interested in being assistants in Paris as the Americans try to win a Ryder Cup on foreign soil for the first time in 25 years.

“He’s one of my best friends,” Woods said of Furyk, “and whatever he wants, whatever he needs, I’m there to help him. We’re worked well the last couple of years in the cups together.”

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Though Woods has said that he wants to be a playing vice captain, he has been an assistant at each of the past two international team competitions.

Furyk, Woods and Stricker were all assistants at Hazeltine, where the U.S. won in a rout.

“Jim is very detailed, very smart, very analytical, and he’s just a fantastic leader,” Woods said. “For him to ask Stricks and I together, it will be special for both of us.”

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Woods to hit '4 or 5' drivers each day at Honda

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 21, 2018, 6:25 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Those hoping Tiger Woods will wield the driver early and often this week at PGA National likely will be disappointed.

Depending on wind direction, he said he will only hit “four or five” drivers each round.

During Wednesday’s pro-am, Woods hit driver on six holes. He found two fairways with the big stick and found the right rough four times, though a few of those misses were only a few yards off the fairway.

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In two starts this year, Woods has struggled mightily with every club off the tee, but driver has been especially troublesome. He has found only 36 percent of the fairways so far (30 of 84).

The Champion Course here is a par 70, with water and bunkers often lining the fairways. Putting the ball in play off the tee will be at a premium, and so Woods opted for a low, penetrating 2-iron six times in the pro-am.

Woods said he did not make any equipment changes following the missed cut at Riviera.