Calfee hopes to improve access for grads


Six months after the Tour Finals replaced Q-School as the primary path to the PGA Tour, Tour president Bill Calfee views the four-tournament series as a success.

Chesson Hadley, who claimed the season-ending Tour Championship, won earlier this month at the Puerto Rico Open, while Finals graduate Russell Knox nearly took home the Honda Classic the week prior. Several of the 50 players who received PGA Tour cards last September have notched high finishes already during the 2013-14 season.

One issue that graduates have often harped on, though, is gaining entry to PGA Tour events on a regular basis. It's an aspect that Calfee hopes to improve for Finals graduates in 2014 and beyond.

"I think the access of the players that got their card into the fall was not as good as we thought it would be," Calfee said Tuesday during an appearance on "Morning Drive." "We're looking at increasing the field at some fall events, maybe add another golf course so we can create some more opportunities for those guys."

Last month, Calfee noted that the season-opening Open will ear-mark 12 spots in its field this October for recent Finals graduates. Tour graduates comprise the 25th category on the PGA Tour's list of priority rankings, falling behind players with major medical extensions or those that finished inside the top 10 at a Tour event the week prior. With increased purses and Masters berths available to event winners last fall, the Tour saw a larger-than-expected increase in interest from other fully-exempt players, leaving fewer spots in fields for some of the Tour's newest members.

As a result, some graduates were only able to play in one of the six events during the fall of 2013, instead of the 3-4 that Tour officials had anticipated, relying instead on sponsor exemptions or Monday qualifiers to earn a crack at a paycheck.

Despite the shortage of playing opportunities, Calfee still feels confident in the current structure of the Finals, which sees 25 cards allotted to season-long money winners and another 25 to the top earners from the four-event series.

"We went through a long, arduous process to come up with this Finals system, and I think it's a good one," Calfee said. "A year-long performance, I think, is a better indicator of who should get to the PGA Tour than just a few weeks."