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PAC discusses lack of playing opportunities for graduates

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HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – The primary talking point during Tuesday’s Player Advisory Council meeting at Harbour Town Golf Links focused on the reduced playing opportunities for this year’s Tour class.

A good example: Will Wilcox, who took the second-to-last card, has just six starts.

That, according to two members of the PAC, is not enough.

Although the topic was characterized as an “initial conversation,” the limited number of playing opportunities for the Tour graduates is a concern.

“It’s an imperfect storm,” explained one PAC member, who asked for anonymity because players are advised not to discuss ongoing policy discussions.

At issue is a larger-than-normal number of Tour members playing on medical and career money exemptions and increased participation by higher-ranked players as a result of the new split-calendar schedule.

Increasing field sizes at some events was discussed, although most events already struggle to finish Rounds 1 and 2 before sunset, and the possibility of reducing the number of fully-exempt players from the top 125 on the money list to the top 120 or 115 was also addressed.

Although players have balked at this suggestion in the past, Tuesday’s meeting seemed to mark a changing attitude among the rank and file to assure enough starts for incoming players.

“It was good to see it coming from the players this time instead of the Tour,” said another member of the PAC.

The topic is expected to be discussed at a player meeting scheduled next month at the Wells Fargo Championship and one PAC member stressed, “nothing has been decided.”