Champions Tour Makes Some Changes


Champions TourThe Champions Tour board has approved several new changes that will take effect this season. The Champions Tour, formerly known as the Senior Tour, opens its season Jan. 27 at the MasterCard Championship at Hualalai Golf Club on the big island of Hawaii.
The biggest changes in regards to the tournaments played is that the Senior British Open becomes the fifth major championship for the Champions Tour. The Senior British Open joins the Ford Senior Players Championship, JELD-WEN Tradition, Senior PGA Championship and U.S. Senior Open as the five majors for the Champions Tour.
Learn about the Champions Tour's new home on The Golf Channel
The Senior British Open will be played July 24-27 on the Ailsa Course at the Westin Turnberry Resort in Turnberry, Scotland.
Other changes involve the Tour's cart policy, the size of the weekly fields and an adjustment to the Charles Schwab Cup Points scoring.
The new cart policy states that if a player chooses to take a cart for his round, the player must ride the cart all 18 holes. Caddies are no longer allowed to drive the carts during official rounds, except when traveling from greens to the next tee or at times and places to be determined by the tournament director.
Caddies and players may ride throughout all practice rounds and pro-am events. Weather covers and heaters are no longer permitted on carts either.
The final change involving carts states that there will be no carts allowed during the following co-sponsored events - the Ford Senior Players Championship, the JELD-WEN Tradition and the season-ending Champions Tour Championship.
The weekly fields at a standard 54-hole event will now be 81 players, up from 78, and the eligibility requirements were altered.
The 81 players will come from the following groups - the top 31 on the 2002 official money list and the top 31 available from the all-time money list, not exempt in the first group and no lower than number 70 on the all-time list.
The rest of the field will include two players from the PGA Tour career victory list, not exempt from the first two categories; the top eight players available from the Qualifying tournament, not lower than number 16. Five players will be invited - one spot restricted to players age 50 or 51 with a minimum of two PGA tour wins, two spots restricted to players with one PGA Tour win or two Champions Tour wins and veteran status, with the final two invited players being unrestricted. The final four players will come from open qualifying.
There are two changes to the Charles Schwab Cup points system. The first involves the tour's five major tournaments. The points awarded for these five events will be three times those offered at all other events.
Players, who are among the top-10 point earners in each quarter, will gain quarterly bonus points. The bonus points will be equivalent to a $1.6 million purse, which was the approximate average tournament purse in 2002. The bonus points will be added to the player's cumulative total for the year.
The quarterly bonus periods will conclude at the Emerald Coast Classic, Farmers Charity Classic, Allianz Championship and Champions Tour Championship. Points will continue to be awarded to top-10 finishers and ties at all 31 official Champions Tour events.
The final change is the name of the Georgia-Pacific Grand Champions, formerly known as the Georgia-Pacific Super Seniors division. These players are 60 years of age and older. Weekly purses will be $175,000 with a first prize $30,000. There will be 12 events finishing with the $400,000 Georgia-Pacific Grand Champions Championship at year's end.