Finchem: No plans to improve access


GREENSBORO, N.C. – With the inaugural wraparound regular season about to conclude, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem feels the changes to the schedule have largely paid off. Stronger fields, bigger purses, and a FedEx Cup points list to banter about over holiday meals.

The one shortcoming Finchem identified is one that has been brought up by players throughout the year: a lack of playing opportunities for players coming out of the Tour Finals.

“The only weakness, if you could call it that, is that with all the fall events strengthening, it’s put a little pressure on access for the Tour graduates,” Finchem said. “That’s kind of a good problem to have, actually, but we’ll watch that because we want to make sure we’re providing enough access to players coming off the Tour.”

Brad Fritsch is in contention this week at the Wyndham Championship, playing in the final group Sunday for the first time in his career. After his third round, the Canadian voiced his frustrations over not getting into as many events as he would have hoped to after graduating from the Tour Finals at No. 14 on the priority list.

Fritsch is making his 18th start of the season this week in Greensboro, but players below him in priority have teed it up even less: Matt Bettencourt, for instance, was No. 48 out of 50 Finals graduates and this week made just his 14th start of the season.

With the 2014-15 schedule released earlier this week, Finchem explained that the Tour will hold off for another year before potentially taking any steps to address the issue of access from the developmental circuit.

“We’re going to wait a year and take another hard look at year two before we jump to do anything,” Finchem said. “In terms of the substantive changes, structural changes, we’re going to stay the course for another year.”