PGA Tour to propose a new schedule

By Rex HoggardMarch 15, 2012, 2:00 am

Consider it pro golf’s version of Super Tuesday only without the attack ads and drama. When the members of the PGA Tour’s Policy Board gather next week at Bay Hill it seems a virtual certainty that decades of tradition will be dramatically altered.

The top item on the nine-member board’s agenda is a makeover of the circuit’s Qualifying School process so profound that Rees Jones would be proud. Under the new plan, the Nationwide Tour would be the primary avenue to Tour membership while Q-School would be relegated to a feeder system for the secondary circuit.

The new plan - which was granted initial approval at the board’s meeting last October but needs a second vote to become policy - would feature the top 75 players off the regular-season Nationwide Tour money list and Nos. 126-200 in PGA Tour earning in a three-event series. The top 50 players after the series finale would earn Tour cards.

The reasons behind the realignment are twofold. The Tour is hoping the changes will make the secondary circuit more appealing to a potential umbrella sponsor to replace Nationwide, which is pulling its sponsorship after this season, and needs to condense the qualifying process to introduce a split-calendar schedule, which the board will also address at next week’s meeting.

Not that any of this has created much of a stir among the rank-and-file members. It’s not that there is a lack of opinions when it comes to both proposals, it’s just that most players don’t see the point.

“It’s a done deal,” said one Tour player who asked not to be identified. “The Tour is going to do what they want to do.”

Most players had a chance to voice whatever concerns they had with the proposals at a mandatory meeting earlier this year at Torrey Pines, and Brandt Snedeker was one of the most outspoken members when commissioner Tim Finchem laid out both plans.

“I just corrected the commissioner in the meeting that the reason guys played more and did stuff outside their normal schedules was because of the TV negotiations and the Tour wanted us to pick up events that we normally wouldn’t play so we could help out sponsors,” he said.

“My only problem with what the commissioner is saying is that we’re playing more tournaments and we need to add more tournaments in the fall. We played more because that was needed, not necessarily because we were going to play more.”

The new split-calendar schedule, which could begin as early at 2013, would likely start with the Open and include the existing Fall Series events, WGC-HSBC Champions and Asia Pacific Classic in Malaysia.

Bringing these events into the FedEx Cup portion of the schedule is certain to appease sponsors that were not pleased with their second-tier status and allow the Tour to make the HSBC an official money event. The move isn’t likely to draw more top players to the fall events, but it’s not going to attract any less.

What remains to be seen is whether the Disney stop, which has been the anchor of the Tour schedule in recent years, and the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, the season opener since 1999 when the event moved to Maui, would accept spots in the heart of the new lineup instead of their coveted bookend status.

“The new schedule is something the Tour needs to do,” Snedeker said. “Here is the problem that players run into - we can’t see the forest for the trees. Everybody looks at how something affects their life instead of realizing the Tour is bigger than just one player. I think the commissioner has a better handle on it then a guy like me.”

But Snedeker and many others do have concerns about the new Nationwide Tour/Q-School proposal. At issue is how players from two different tours with vastly different economic realities could be properly seeded for the three-event finals series.

“Like the FedEx Cup, when we started it, the Tour will say we had some problems with it the first few years with the points scale,” Snedeker said. “We can’t have that same problem with the new system. It has to be right the first time because you can’t cost someone their dream right out of the gate.”

An initial proposal used a scale that would give the Nationwide Tour money leader and No. 126 in Tour earnings the same amount of money to start the series, followed by equal earnings for No. 2 on the secondary circuit and No. 127 in Tour cash and so forth.

“It made some sense, but that’s not fair to the Nationwide Tour No. 1 player who has played well all year long and been the guy and if he plays bad those last three events and his number goes to crap,” said Snedeker, who earned his Tour card via the Nationwide Tour. “That doesn’t seem fair.”

What pro golf’s version of Super Tuesday lacks in suspense it makes up for in subtext. Both proposals appear to be foregone conclusions but neither seems flawless, at least not yet.

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Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome

By Grill Room TeamDecember 18, 2017, 3:22 pm

Sergio and Angela Garcia's super 2017 keeps getting more ... Super ... Dome. (+1 awful blog lede.)

The couple started the year with Sergio's win at the Masters, then embarked on a whirlwind green jacket media tour, then kicked off El Clasico, then attended Wimbledon, then got married, then announced they were expecting their first child ...

2017 Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

And now, they're throwing each other passes on the New Orleans Saints' home turf at the Superdome.

Man, it must be so cool do that at the Silverdome. ... ... ... I'm sorry, it is the Superdome, brothers.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic

Article: Thomas (64) rallies to defend CIMB title

Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double

Article: Thomas refuses to let disastrous hole derail TOC win

Article: Worst week ever ends with another title at Sony Open

Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

Article: Thomas becomes youngest player to shoot 59

Take a look: Thomas’ scorecard from his amazing 59

Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open

Article: Thomas sets U.S. Open record with 9-under 63

Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row

Watch: Thomas loses club, makes 9, misses Open cut

Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow

Article: Thomas joins the club – the major club

Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship

Article: Thomas wins the battle of buddies over Spieth

The $10 Million Man: FedExCup champ

Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year

And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season

Article: Thomas caps torrid 12-month run with CJ Cup win

Photo Galleries: Best of ...

Best of: Justin Thomas and Jillian Wisniewski

Best of: Justin Thomas through the years

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 12:30 pm

Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.