PGA Tour: Tiring of Firestone and Mile High Club in Reno: Notes from the Ballwasher

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Post by kwinigolfer on Tue 31 Jul 2012, 8:00 pm

First topic message reminder :

1).Congratulations to Scott Piercy, last year's winner in the rarified Reno air and now off to Firestone CC and Akron, Ohio's "WGC Bridgestone Invitational" as RBC Canadian Open Champion. Travel plans changed at a stroke, or at least those strokes of the stumbling Dirt McGirt and Garrigus as they bogeyed their way to a podium finish rather than the Canadian club's gold they'd been in the driving seat to achieve.

2).Neither Piercy nor Garrigus have ever been close to my top 200 favourite golfers, but they both hit it a mile and have steadily improved their all-round game to become regular Top 25 finishers on Tour. Garrigus has apparently matured following his pot-headed mini-Tour career and this was his third runner-up effort of the year, while Piercy has moved on from being voted 6th cockiest player on Tour in Sports Illustrated.

3).Surrey's Gary Christian made the cut on the number but enjoyed a terrific weekend to claim a share of 10th place, with Brian Davis continuing his consistent season one shot further back. But disappointment for Greg Owen and Russell Knox whose success on Thursday and Friday was not matched at the weekend. What does it all mean?
~Davis: All but certain to qualify for the first three Play-Off tournaments.
~Owen: Certain to play Barclays and Deutsche Bank, but needs at least one top finish to have a chance to reach the BMW.
~Christian: Currently inside the Top 125 (118) and playing this week in Reno where another good finish would probably cement his Barclays place and go a long way to secure his "playing privileges" for 2013.
~Knox: Disappointing weekend and needs a miracle in Reno and/or Greensboro to be eligible for the Barclays. Q-School more likely unless he can start stringing four rounds together.

4).The calendar going forward looks like this:
Aug 2nd - 5th: Bridgestone and Reno.
Aug 9th - 12th: PGA Championship, no "opposite field' event.
Aug 16th - 19th: Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, NC.
Aug 23rd thru Sept 23rd: Barclays, Deutsche Bank, BMW, Tour Championship.

5).pgatour.com lists "Bert Wray" as the original architect of Firestone CC's South Course, venue for this week's WGC Bridgestone Invitational. A little research shows that Bert Way emigrated from Westward Ho! in Devon at Musselburgh's Willie Dunn's instigation shortly after Dunn began work on Shinnecock Hills. Way later finished 2nd in the 1899 US Open before he turned his hand full-time to course architecture. Firestone is just one of a number of well-regarded courses Way designed, primarily in Michigan and Ohio. Not sure how the course stood the test of time from the 1920's thru the 50's, but Robert Trent Jones stiffened it considerably in his late-fifties restoration and now plays at a stout par-70 7,400 yards for the pros.

6).Firestone is either a terrific test or a boring parkland course on steroids depending on which "expert" one listens to. It can appear one dimensional on TV with it's seemingly non-stop diet of look-alike 400+ yard par 4's, mostly dead straight. Although the Tour pros are almost unanimous in calling it "solid and classic" it's also slagged off for being "boring" and criticised for the PGA Tour's set-up, with special criticism reserved for the tee shots and canting fairways.
Whether one is tired of Firestone CC and its Bridgestone set-up or not, WGC status surely cries out for taking its show on the road.

7).Meanwhile, there's nothing boring about Jack Nicklaus's Montreux G&CC that hosts this week's "Reno-Tahoe Open". At 5,000 feet, the Touring Pros hit it further here than anywhere - last year's tee shots were reportedly the longest on Shot Link record. Not sure if some of the geriatric crew on hand this year will keep that distance up; over twenty golfers who originally "committed" to this week have bagged it and the alternate list is overstocked with Seniors who can't qualify for the 78-man field for this week's Champions Tour event. Wish they'd fill the field from the qualifying list rather than the retreads foisted on Reno.

8).But some top pros are here nevertheless, led by Padraig Harrington looking to sharpen his game for Kiawah's PGA Championship. Other "faces" who are looking to secure Play-Off berths include Appleby, Villegas, Weekley, Gay, Romero, DiMarco, Leonard, Cink and even a resurgent John Daly. Europeans Cejka, Chopra, Christian, Johnson and Knox are there, all with various objectives, but I fancy the chances of old-lag-type pros with course form, Rollins, say, Henry, Matteson, Perez or Vaughn Taylor. Tune in, even if just for the spectacle of the gorgeous Sierra Nevada.
And: Remember, this week signals a return to the "modified Stableford" scoring system.

9).Its a long way from Reno to Akron, as John Denver might have sung, and as Scott Piercy can tell you. Tiger Woods has a fantastic record here, seven wins and counting, and all eyes will presumably be on his driver. Whatever the constraints of his "gameplan" at Lytham, he has to unleash the driver at Firestone and, if he can only keep it in the short grass, he'll once again be the man to beat. It is well documented that the American Mid-West has endured a long, hot summer, but Akron has at least had some recent rain to keep the place from burning out completely.

10).Europe hasn't celebrated a winner here since Darren Clarke beat Jonathan Kaye and Tiger in 2003, though runners up since this stop became a WGC include Phillip Price, Rose, Westwood, Harrington and Donald. No doubt if Steve Williams were to win again it would equal his greatest ever triumph, but if Woods can hit some fairways it would be a brave punter to bet against his hstory here.

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Post by Lairdy on Mon 06 Aug 2012, 3:03 pm

I wonder how confident Finchem is that his changes wont breed mediocrity? Will he end up having the same guys, who have yet again failed to keep their full tour card, taking the place of guys who have been playing well elsewhere and fancy a shot at the PGA Tour? OR the guys who have played their way in to form on the web.com (as per instructed) but fall just short in those last 3 events when their tour gets crashed? Will it be the same players churning through the system and falling short of the magic 125 number every year? or will those serving their apprenticeship out number the RANK and file?

At any rate I'll miss the shot at glory stories from the old q school. And the Bud Cauleys.

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Post by sirbenson on Mon 06 Aug 2012, 3:05 pm

Why is Tiger skipping Shanghai, disappointing tbh

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Post by super_realist on Mon 06 Aug 2012, 3:06 pm

sirbenson wrote:Why is Tiger skipping Shanghai, disappointing tbh

He's a total part timer. Only plays the bare minimum, if that, so not really surprising

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Post by kwinigolfer on Mon 06 Aug 2012, 3:26 pm

benson,
Has that been announced? Had no idea.
Strange in that he's committed to the CIMB event in Malaysia to great fanfare by the Tour.

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Post by pedro on Mon 06 Aug 2012, 3:29 pm

I'm afraid it could be the first nail in the coffein for the ET as we know it today. The ET definitely needs get some more/bigger European sponsors onboard significantly ramping up the purses, ev. in combination with the Dubai finale. Unfortunately the contrary seems to be happening, with purses fading and tournaments lacking sponsors, and new small tournaments popping up every year. As a further example, the bonus pool of RTD is now down to $3,750,000 (from originally $10,000,000 I think). To counter that the ET is staging more and more tournaments in Asia, (albeit some with big purses). But all in all I doubt it's the kind of stuff that motivates the big European and international players continuing supporting the ET.

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Post by Shotrock on Mon 06 Aug 2012, 3:41 pm

Ned - Status Quo - no matter how effective - is not something the PGA is interested in pursuing. Against the competition Finchem is killing it, but against the opportunity?

By strengthening the Web.Com tour, the USGA: (1) Builds interest in corporations and markets wanting to invest in professional golf. The more interested investors, the greater the opportunity to raise the stakes. Web.com concentrates in second tier markets, areas/companies, often overlooked by the regular tour. (2) Increases venues to hold professional tournaments. Clubs wanting to host tournaments run hot and cold (see Congressional). The more experience (and willingness) clubs have with hosting professional tournaments, the more leverage the PGA will eventually have.

Will all this backfire on Finchem? Is it somewhat narrow minded? But is it good for business? No, yes and yes are my guesses.

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Post by GPB on Mon 06 Aug 2012, 3:54 pm

NedB-H wrote:
An entry route for people from tours other than Web.com is EXACTLY what I want. It's what there is now, and it works very well: the majority of each year's new intake remains US players and I don't mind that, but Q-school allows good foreign players just below the top rank to get some experience in Europe or Asia then progress, should they choose, straight on to the tour.

With all due respect, What is best for the USPGATour is not necessarily best for NedB-H.

There is an avenue for Int'l players to the PGAT. They just got to perform when they get those chances. Which is no different from the current Q-school. If you don't play well at Q-School, it's "Thank you very much for your $5K entry fee and see you next year"

If you are decent player, you have your opportunities to play the US Open and British Open. 200th place on the money list from 2011 was $170K. That is essentially a top 10 finish in a major. That will get you in the 3 event Q-school series.

I don't think the argument of Asians have much merit. Is there a significant difference between spending a year on Asian/One Asian Tour and spending on year the Web-com tour? Whats the difference between purses? I don't think it is much

AS I said earlier, I think the PGAT should allow up to 6 exemptions to Int'l Players into the new Q-School series, as long as they are ranked inside the Top 100. This would have given the Bello's, the Siems, the Oleson's an opportunity to qualify.




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Post by kwinigolfer on Mon 06 Aug 2012, 3:57 pm

Superficially I reckon Finchem will appear to have scored a coup.

But, as Ned suggests, in the fullness of time (and this may occur sooner rather than later) these policies will push more players back to International Tours and strengthen those Tours. He won't care about Europe unless sponsors persuade superstars return to the ET, but he WILL care if he loses the Far Eastern attractions.

Ironically, the strongest feeder of International players to the web.com Tour will be overseas players who played College Golf, the Lairds, Clarks, Petterssons, deJonges of the next generation. And they'll be taking College roster places that were previously the strict domain of American students. What goes around will come around, eventually.


Shotrock,
Remember, exploitation of secondary markets is not without risks; you only have to look at the incredible shrinkage of the LPGA and Champions Tours to see that.

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Post by NedB-H on Mon 06 Aug 2012, 4:16 pm

[quote="GPB"]
NedB-H wrote:

There is an avenue for Int'l players to the PGAT. They just got to perform when they get those chances. Which is no different from the current Q-school. If you don't play well at Q-School, it's "Thank you very much for your $5K entry fee and see you next year"

If you are decent player, you have your opportunities to play the US Open and British Open. 200th place on the money list from 2011 was $170K. That is essentially a top 10 finish in a major. That will get you in the 3 event Q-school series.

This still doesn't wash with me. Sure Q-school requires you to play well, but at least the opportunity is there, everyone can enter even if they have to go through four stages. There's not going to be anything like the same level of opportunity any more. Marc Warren, two time ET winner, World Cup winner, played his first major only this year. Steve Webster has two wins and has kept his card comfortably every year since '97, and has only played 6 majors as a pro. Anthony Wall has nearly $7mil ET earnings, well inside the R2D top 100 for 14 years and has only played 9 majors; David Lynn has over $6.5mil earnings, has finished top 100 for 12 years and has only played 1! A top 10 finish becomes a big ask in those circumstances!

It may be what's best for the PGA Tour, in terms of protecting its own and keeping things insular, but that isn't what's best in the long run for golf in the rest of the world. There's every reason for those of us affected to complain.


And it seems to me, on the topic of strengthening the Web.com, that Finchem only has himself to blame. It shouldn't need such drastic measures to make that tour a success. At the start of this year that tour should have had Weekley on it, and next year could have Villegas on it, but Weekley never made a start and chances are Villegas won't either, because the main tour stops flaunt invitations to names like that. If guys who had poor seasons were told to bite the bullet, the Web.com could quickly be a very tasty mix of popular tour regulars trying to regain form, and young hotshots who are "the next big thing", and Q-school wouldn't need touching.

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Post by GPB on Mon 06 Aug 2012, 5:42 pm

Has Marc Warren, Steve Webster, Anthony Wall, and David Lynn even entered PGAT qualifying before?

I have followed the Q-school, and I do not remember seeing those names before. I am trying to find results from 2nd stage last year but I cannot find them and appear to be archived.

It almost seems that you are complaining that a door has been closed, but its a door that is not being used.

Remember a EuroTour guy would have to take at least one week off from their tour to try to qualify in the current version.




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Post by Shotrock on Mon 06 Aug 2012, 5:52 pm

Kwin - I could not agree with you more. Risks indeed - but I'll always applaud a bias for action the team Finchem is intent on taking.

Ned - What you seem to think are drastic measures is simply calculated growth to me. Theorize all we want about what "could happen" or "should happen" but in the end they are just opinions or attitudes. When you go in market and try different methods you affect behavior -- and you make money on behavior, not attitudes.

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Post by robopz on Mon 06 Aug 2012, 7:05 pm

Kwini... Ned... It's so easy to see what's been taken away from the internationals with the access changes to the PGAT, but I think both of you are still missing the significance of the changes and how they will HELP International Players.

Remember the new 3 event playoff will be made up of 75 players off the Web.com Tour plus #s 126-200 from the TOTAL PGA Tour money list. When I say Total.. that INCLUDES non-member earnings. Just taking 2011 for instance... that means that the 75 non-Web.com guys who get into the mini-playoff would have been made up of 67 PGA Tour members plus 7 non-members. Then add it the players that have access via Special Temporary Membership.

Let's take a look at 2000 - 2011 and see how many foreign non-members had access to the PGA Tour (if they choose to take it) via either the Special Temporary Exemption or winning an event.

This first list is guys who could of or did take membership via Special Temporary or by winning an official event

2000 - T. Bjorn, M Jimenez, C Montgomerie
2001 - N Fasth, T Izawa
2002 - P Harrington, D Clarke, A Cabrera, M Campbell, T Levet
2003 - P Harrington, F Jacobson, S Leaney, J Rose, T Bjorn
2004 - P Harrington, L Westwood, P Casey
2005 - M Campbell, C Montgomerie, G McDowell, T Bjorn
2006 - NONE
2007 - NONE
2008 - H Stenson, R Karlsson
2009 - H Stenson, L Westwood, R McIlroy
2010 - L Westwood, M Kaymer, L Oosthuizen, R Karlsson, G Havret, C Schwartzel
2011 - R McIlroy, D Clarke, L Westwood, B Cauley

Now lets add in the ones that would have been eligible for the three series playoff had it been in effect since 2000. (and yes... I realize some of the below may have been otherwise exempt)

2000 - J.M Olazabal, L Westwood, P Harrington, D Clarke, K Hosakawa, R Goosen, B Langer
2001 - A Cabrera, D Clarke, S Katayama, P Harrington, I Woosnam, M Campbell, T Taniguchi
2002 - T Bjorn, A Scott, G Evans, C Montgomerie, T Taniguchi, P Fulke, S Hansen, D Howser,
2003 - N Fasth, B Davis, Paul Lawrie, P Price, J Gallagher, E Romero, P Casey,
2004 - C Villegas, A Cabrera, P McGinley, I Poulter
2005 - T Immelman, N O'Hern, R Green, A Cabrera, D Howell,
2006 - A Cabrera, H Stenson, C Montgomerie, M Jimenez, M Campbell, H Tanihara, P Casey
2007 - A Romero, P Casey, R Green, R Karlsson, N Fasth, N Dougherty, S Dyson
2008 - M Jimenez, Jeev Singh, N Fasth,
2009 - G. McDowell, R Fisher, M Kaymer, S Hansen, C Wood, Jeev Singh, S Katayama, D Lee, F Molinari, S Kjeldsen, O Wilson
2010 - E Molinari, F Molinari, WC Liang, A Quiros, M Jimenez, R Rock, P Hanson
2011 - A Hansen, A Hadwin, P Hanson, T Bjorn, E Molinari, A Quiros, KT Kim, R Jacquelin

Next... this doesn't take into account that the CIMB is expanding to 78 players (half of which will be from the Asian region) and the WGC-HSBC becoming official. The effect of this would be to add two more opportunities for non-members to earn non-member earnings and make the playoffs... Just glancing over the last 2 years, and even with the CIMB being such a small field... that would have added at least 4 more International players earning Special Temporary Membership and at least 4 more players earning a spot in the 3-event playoff.

Now granted... the new set up does favor international players with "more credentials" and closes the "immediate access" door to the unheard of guy who makes it through 3 stages of Q-School. But the net effect should be at least as many, but probably MORE international players finding their way to the PGAT... that is IF they choose to take advantage of the opportunity.

On the face of it... it looks like the only International guys taking a hit with this new setup are the Japanese and possibly some other Asians. But that's really NOT the case. Top Japanese players could easily max out their sponsor exemptions IF they choose to apply for them... but except for rare cases like Ishikawa, they rarely apply. Few people realize it but only about 1/3 of the Commissioners Foreign exemptions (2 each per event) get used throughout the year. (NOTE: the foreign exemptions are suspended for 2013 due to the shortened season, but will return in the 2013-1014 season) So if internationals are serious about wanting to get on the PGA Tour... the door is WIDE open... but they're gonna have take the opportunities presented to them and perform well enough to get Special Temporary or #200 on the combined PGAT member and non-member money list so they can make the 3 event playoff. AND IMO the more talented players have a BETTER chance of getting their card in 3 events over 3 venues... as opposed to risking it all on one venue that might not favor them, or one week when they might be off their game.

Bottom line: Yes the new setup is "different", and I too would have preferred maybe 5 golden tickets from q-school. But no since crying over the doors that have closed... better to focus on the new ones that have been opened. And for the international players as whole, IMO these new doors to the PGAT provide at least equal to, if not BETTER access than they had before. But one thing hasn't changed... they gotta play well to take advantage of them.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Mon 06 Aug 2012, 7:35 pm

robo,
That's a brilliant analysis clap that I'm having trouble fully digesting!

One immediate quibble is that European Tour players would be expected to give up a month's worth of biggish European Tour events, which is also an historic reason why Europeans have been reluctant to submit themselves to the Q-School schedule in the first place.

But I guess that's pretty much your point.
Show up or shut up!

I think we'll learn a lot more this autumn as the Q-School season gets underway and next year's full schedule is released.

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Post by robopz on Mon 06 Aug 2012, 7:38 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:Ironically, the strongest feeder of International players to the web.com Tour will be overseas players who played College Golf, the Lairds, Clarks, Petterssons, deJonges of the next generation. And they'll be taking College roster places that were previously the strict domain of American students. What goes around will come around, eventually.

Huh? A tremendous number of internationals have been playing collegiality here for decades... and they've been gaining access to the PGAT via the Hogan/Nike/Buy/NW/Web.com Tour since it's inception. You are making this sound like a Ryder or Presidents Cup where it's about the rest of the world against Americans. That's not the case. The objective of the PGAT is to build the best tour it possibly can... keeping with one of their tag lines "The Best Play Here"... and that includes ensuring avenues for talented international players to gain access once they are ready to compete. IMO... this new system will NOT be an impediment, instead will IMPROVE and ENHANCE the opportunity and likelihood of top international players making their way to the PGAT...

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Post by robopz on Mon 06 Aug 2012, 7:51 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:One immediate quibble is that European Tour players would be expected to give up a month's worth of biggish European Tour events, which is also an historic reason why Europeans have been reluctant to submit themselves to the Q-School schedule in the first place.

Correct in many respects...

Through this year... here's the exemptions for foreign players to get into q-school

Stage 1:
Members of the following international golf tours or Web.com Tour/Nationwide Tour during 2008-2012 PGA
TOUR, PGA European Tour, Japan Golf Tour, PGA Tour of Australasia, Sunshine Tour, Asian Tour, Canadian Tour
and Tour de las Americas/PGA TOUR Latinoamérica.

Stage 2:
The leading 4th through 10th available players to a floor of 25th position, on the PGA European Tour and Japan Golf
Tour respective Official Money Lists as of the Qualifying Tournament’s entry deadline, September 26, 2012, and the
Australasian PGA Tour final Official Money List from the 2011 season

The leading 4th through 10th available players to a floor of 25th position, on the PGA European Tour and Japan Golf
Tour respective Official Money Lists as of the Qualifying Tournament’s entry deadline, September 26, 2012, and the
Australasian PGA Tour final Official Money List from the 2011 season.

Those applicants ranked 51st through 100th on the Official World Golf Ranking as of the Qualifying Tournament entry
deadline, September 26, 2012.

The leading 1st and 2nd available players, to a floor of 10th position, on the applicable Official Money List or Order of Merit as of the Qualifying Tournament entry deadline, September 26, 2012 of each of the following international tours: Asian Tour, Canadian Tour, Tour de las Americas and from the Sunshine Tour’s final official money list for the 2011 season.

Stage 3:
Those applicants among the top 25 finishers immediately after the 125th position on the final 2012 Official PGA TOUR
Money List (as defined in the PGA TOUR Tournament Regulations).

The leading 1st , 2nd and 3rd available players, to a floor of 10th position, on the PGA European Tour and Japan Golf
Tour respective Official Money List as of the Qualifying Tournament entry deadline, September 26, 2012 and the
Australasian PGA Tour final Official Money List from the 2011 season.

Those applicants among the top 50 on the Official World Golf Ranking as of the Qualifying Tournament entry
deadline, September 26, 2012.

++++++++

So as you can see... effectivly the only guys exempt into final stage were OWGR top-50 players, plus maybe a few more. But most of the international guys were having to play at least 2nd stage, if not 1st and 2nd. The problem with that was it took two or three separate trips over here to play the stages because each stage was a month apart... At least with the new set-up, it's supposed to be 3 weeks in a row... bam-bam-bam... AND... it will be during weak to "neutral" portions of the Euro, Asian, Sunshine schedules (during the FedEx Playoffs). So for MOST of the guys coming over here to play the playoffs, they will probably lose LESS quality time on their respective tours than under the current setup. IMO that will make it more inviting for the international guys who can qualify for the playoffs.

EDIT: and by the way Kwini... about the "handcuffs" on the Euro guys because of the 15 minimum... With the HSBC becoming official starting with the 2013-2014 season... the handcuffs are at least loosened slightly as that will be EIGHT co-sanctioned events for the dual tour players instead of the seven they've had up to now. That could help out a LOT of those guys...


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Post by kwinigolfer on Mon 06 Aug 2012, 7:55 pm

robo,
I know that - my thought was just that it's increasingly easier for collegiate foreigners to migrate straight to the mini Tours and thence the Q-School route than it is for guys based overseas to make the jump.

There HAVE been issues of college rosters (and not just in golf but other sports, especially tennis) being stocked in the majority by overseas "students" and I can only see this increasing. Relevant to our discussion? Not sure, but worth bearing in mind.


PS: I think your painting of Finchem as an altruist is a bit of a reach . . . . ! The proof of his pudding is in the eating and this recipe gives me indigestion. He could start by embracing a WGC in Europe, but we know the answer to that.
Must admit, I didn't know that CIMB and HSBC were official PGA Tour events - that must be starting in 2012 then?


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Post by robopz on Mon 06 Aug 2012, 8:10 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:
PS: I think your painting of Finchem as an altruist is a bit of a reach . . . . ! The proof of his pudding is in the eating and this recipe gives me indigestion. He could start by embracing a WGC in Europe, but we know the answer to that.
Must admit, I didn't know that CIMB and HSBC were official PGA Tour events - that must be starting in 2012 then?

Whoa.. I didn't say Finchem was doing this as an alturist... I've said he's doing it to build the STRONGEST PGAT he can... and in HIS mind and that of the policy board, that includes enticing the BEST of the BEST to play over here as much as possible.

CIMB - HSBC - Remain the same "quasi-official" status in 2012 as before and CIMB will be 48 players this year. Starting in 2013 (for the 2013-14 season), both events become fully official in every way, including money, full 500 pt FedEX allocation of CIMB, and 550 for the WGC-HSBC. Also the CIMB expands to 78 players.

As for a European WGC - In case you have forgotten... Finchem DID support WGC's outside the U.S... Two of them... One got forced back to the U.S. due to lack of sponsors in Europe... and the World Cup lost it's WGC status for other reasons. But as for another Euro WGC? Absolutely... IMO if they put a WGC immediately before or after the Open... Ponte Vedra would go for it in a nano-second. But try to put it against another otherwise strong part of the PGAT schedule... NOT gonna get supported here. Just like the new Tournament of Hope in SA which has very little if any chance of getting full official status... at least for a LONG, LONG time...

EDIT: As for foreign players on college rosters. Not NEAR a problem here... at least not yet... I sincerely doubt it would be, unless some schools try to fill out all of their roster with foreign players...



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Post by GPB on Mon 06 Aug 2012, 8:14 pm

WGC in Europe? Finchem is stopping that? I don't think so. Perhaps indirectly by making events in North America so good and lucrative that Yanks do not want to travel over there.

I don't think it is in Finchem's job description to promote a WGC in Europe but I don't think he is preventing that.

Finchem works for the players of the PGAT. He is not, nor should he, concentrating on anything that is not in the best interest of the PGAT.

Man, I hear a lot of criticism of Finchem on this board. 95% of it undeserved. He is doing a fantastic job, and just because his agendas marry up with the agenda of George O'Grady is not a good reason to be critical of Finchem.


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Post by GPB on Mon 06 Aug 2012, 8:15 pm

HSBC and CIMB will become official in 2013, IIRC but for the 2013-2014 season.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Mon 06 Aug 2012, 8:50 pm

GPB,
"Criticism of Finchem"?
If you read more closely you'll find acknowledgement of the quality job that he does for his "base" (which obviously includes a dozen or so Europeans) - and, in my case anyway, rank condemnation of O'Grady for the way in which he has allowed the European Tour become diminished in comparison.

Good discussion - let's see how it plays out!

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Post by Shotrock on Mon 06 Aug 2012, 9:01 pm

Lack of sponsorship says a lot -- if O'Grady can't line up the sponsors why don't they find someone who can? I've said it before and I've even typed it slowly -- time for European businesses to get off their wallet if they want to compete.

Potshots taken at "Timmy" all the time on this board -- but that comes with the territory when you are top dog.

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Post by robopz on Mon 06 Aug 2012, 9:30 pm

Kwini...

Actually I'm not as critical of O'Grady as some... YES... I do have criticisms... but IMO they're based on some the Euro Tour's failed tactics, NOT his objectives. IMO his objectives should be and are the same as Tim Finchem's... serve the interest of his members to build the best Euro Tour that he can.

But that said... IMO ALL of the biggest problems with the Euro Tour are NOT necessarily of O'Grady's making, some include the incredibly poor economic conditions throughout it's BASE area of Europe itself. That, (I'll put on my flack jacket for this one) and socialistic taxation policies of several nations all but forcing international athletes and events out of their countries of origin. (we can write a book on this one)

If the Euro Tour itself made any mistakes... IMO it's been in being too quick to chase the money to Asia, the Middle East and elsewhere, instead of retrenching with perhaps lower purse events in Europe while giving the economy a chance to recover. But from an outsider looking in... it seems the Euro Tour has been willing to go anywhere to chase a buck... continuity of schedule and players needs be damned. Even though I do believe that the 2012 schedule is far better organized than 2011.... there are still huge issues.

A second problem for the Euro Tour is that it's let the appearance fee's and agents get out of control. When it get's to the point that an agent can "bundle" a group of players and FORCE new events down the throat of the Euro Tour... then it's got a BIG problem. I use as evidence Shanghai and this new Turkey event. Chubby wields so much power right now... there's not a darn thing the Euro Tour can do except acquiesce to his whims.

And worse (for the Euro tour anyway) it forces the PGAT to respond in kind... As an example the PGAT's elevation of the CIMB to full status and expansion of field for 2013, even allowing it's marquee player to accept a huge fee to play in it opposite the Shanghai event this year. Exactly how the PGAT will respond to the Turkey event is yet to be determined. I'm guessing it depends on where it will find it's full time place onto the Euro schedule and if it's percieved to be a threat to pulling away PGAT players from other PGAT events.

And speaking of Agents... it's gotten to the point that agent groups are exerting control over the Euro Tour in other ways. IMG in effect OWNS certain events on the tour, is agent for many of the potential players, AND controls the media production through its blanket Euro media production contracts. Talk about conflict of interest. Combine IMG with Chubby's ISM... and those two agencies alone can play GOD and decide from one year to the next which events will have good fields, which will have good secondary sponsors... which players are featured in coverage and to some extent... which events may or may not survive. That's WAY too much power....

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Post by kwinigolfer on Mon 06 Aug 2012, 9:59 pm

Agree with most of that.

IMG has owned tournaments for well over twenty years so nothing new there.

As for taxation policies, the only difference is that in Europe you're expected to pay taxes and they're largely enforced; in America you're not expected to pay taxes and they're largely not enforced, write-offs for dressage horses just the tip of the iceberg.

Hope you won't need your flak jacket.

Rumours out of Luke Donald's camp suggested the Tour was playing hardball with releases for the Turkey trots . . . . . . . reportedly he is thinking about recarving his schedule.

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Post by robopz on Mon 06 Aug 2012, 10:42 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:As for taxation policies, the only difference is that in Europe you're expected to pay taxes and they're largely enforced; in America you're not expected to pay taxes and they're largely not enforced, write-offs for dressage horses just the tip of the iceberg.

Some truth to that to be sure... :-)

But NOPE.... the taxation policies I'm talking about are the taxation of endorsement income. Hypothetical... If I'm an American player and say I make a $10 million per year endorsement deal with Dallas National Bank and wear their logo on my sleeve. Then the week I go play in the British Open... the U.K government says that I earned 1/52nd of that income (192K) in the U.K. and I'm subject to over 40% Tax on it (77K). Doesn't matter that Dallas National Bank has no presence in the UK or not. So bottom line... if I stay for the full week... I have to pay $77K just for the privilege of playing in the British Open. Then I come back to the US, and I pay taxes on the entire $10 million again as ordinary income. That was a big bone of contention in the London getting the Olympics. They needed special laws to exempt Olympic athletes from that tax before the games could be held there.... and that's one reason why a lot of European's who are non UK residents avoid playing events in the UK.

And I wouldn't know the specifics... but I strongly suspect that Westwood's move to the states has more behind it than just wanting to play better in majors.


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Post by robopz on Mon 06 Aug 2012, 10:46 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:IMG has owned tournaments for well over twenty years so nothing new there.

To be clear... I'm not aware of IMG wielding unreasonable power over the Euro Tour in any way, shape, form or fashion. BUT, they could if they wanted to. And maybe since Chubby most certainly IS using every power he has to get his way... IMG might feel pressured to do likewise to protect their players, event ownership interests, and media contracts with the European Tour.

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Post by robopz on Mon 06 Aug 2012, 11:03 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:Rumours out of Luke Donald's camp suggested the Tour was playing hardball with releases for the Turkey trots . . . . . . . reportedly he is thinking about recarving his schedule.

I hadn't heard that... but it wouldn't surprise me. I had a graph on the PGAT's ability to control players via competing event releases... but my posts are already too long winded... but I will post this... A few graphs from the PGAT policy on competing events... You might want to read this one carefully, some surprising nuggets in there... like WHAT constitutes "home tour" events for purposes of the PGAT granting releases... (ONLY the sections in ITALICS are direct from the manual... any non-italics are MY add.)

3. Guidelines for Conflicting Event Release
a. Each Regular Member of PGA TOUR ordinarily shall be eligible
for three releases per year based on participation in 15 PGA TOUR
cosponsored or approved tournaments and, in addition, shall be eligible
for one release for every five cosponsored or approved tournaments in
which he participates above 15 tournaments.


For foreign dual members they do NOT have to get a release to play in "home circuit" events.... BUT... the home circuit definitions can get tricky...

d. Golf tournaments on the “home circuit” of a foreign player who is a
PGA TOUR member.
NOTE : “Home circuit” is defined as the recognized professional golf
tournament circuit which plays all or some portion of its schedule in
the country of which the player is a citizen. Such foreign PGA TOUR
member shall be eligible for this “home circuit” exception to provisions
of these Regulations with regard to conflicting tournaments provided
he has played, or committed to play, in a minimum of 15 PGA
TOUR cosponsored or approved tournaments in the year...

For purposes of the Tournament Regulations, the following professional
golf tournament circuits, and the geographical area covered by each, are
recognized as “home circuits”:
Home Circuit Geographical Region

PGA European Tour Countries within the continent of
Europe plus Morocco and Tunisia

PGA Tour of Southern Africa
Countries within the
continent of Africa

Japan Golf Tour - Japan

PGA Tour of Australasia -
Australia, New Zealand, Singapore,
Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand,
Philippines, Myanma, Vietnam,
Guam, China, Hong Kong, Korea,
Taiwan, India and Pakistan

Any events sanctioned or cosanctioned by any of the above
professional golf tours which are not within the geographical area listed
for such professional golf tour shall not be considered events within the
“home circuit” of a foreign player claiming such professional golf tour
as his “home circuit.”


The above is important... because for Euro Tour guys... events outside Europe re NOT automatically exempt from the Competing Event Release policy... and Since Turkey is partly in Europe, but mostly not... it might depend on WHERE in Turkey the event is played. That could also very much affect the South Africans if they call the Sunshine their home tour.... and so on and so on...






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Post by pedro on Mon 06 Aug 2012, 11:33 pm

robo,
You're so right re. Asia, taxation and which tournament Chubby's boys "choose" to play.

I think it's a huge problem for the ET we have so few regular events in the UK. Whether it's entirely due to taxation, lack of sponsors, both, or whether it's the chiken or the egg, I don't know.

In all honesty the Asian tournaments, and in particular the Chinese and Korean, are killing the ordinary golf fan's interest in the ET and its product, big purses or not.

We need a steady flow of classical UK and continental European tournaments from March through October/Nov, preceded by the Gulf swing and finalised with Dubai. IMO there should be max 2-3 Asian tournaments (Singapore, HK, and one in China) like in the good old days. And the ET should get rid of the co-sanctioned Saffer and Aussie tourneys. In the ideal world that is. I know its not going to happen. But again, it's the chicken or the egg. Do we go where the sponsors and the money are, or do we try to create an attractive product at home? I fully agree with robo, that the ET went for the easy dollars, rather than trying to develop an attractive product. I'm afraid its not sustainable as it is, and with the PGA Tour playing hardball, it could be the first step towards a de facto "world tour", reducing the ET to a feeder tour of the web.com. (am I too pessimistic?)

Imagine if the PGA Tour (some day) decides to stage one or two PGA Tour tourneys in Europe, for instance the weeks prior to the Open, creating a "European swing"? I'm sure some of the current PGAT sponsors wouldn't mind spending their bucks on a big European US PGA Tour tourney prior to the Open. (BMW, Barclays, Deutsche Bank?) That would be a further incentive for medium-top European players to go all in on the PGAT. Obviously it would pi55 off the ET, but I'm sure many big US names would play them (in stead of the Scottish Open or in the US). And golf fans in Europe would love it. Although not entirely comparable, just see what the NFL and NBA did.

Btw, when it comes to taxation doesn't US have a doule taxation agreement with UK, allowing US residents to deduct tax paid in the UK?

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Post by robopz on Tue 07 Aug 2012, 12:06 am

pedro... I seriously doubt either the PGAT our the Euro Tour would attempt to compete directly in the area of the other. BUT... that said... as per the definitions above... the PGAT does NOT consider Africa, Asia, Australia as European Home areas. What I expect to see is one more additional PGAT event in the "pacific rim" area in the next few years. IMO it's in their interest to ensure that top players from that region (Japan, Korea, China, Australia) continue to make the PGAT their "tour of choice"

And as for world tours... someday not too far in the future, I expect to see a third major tour in the Pacific Rim. OneAsia is attempting such a consolidation or "overlay" now of smaller tours now. I don't know if they're the ones that will be ultimately successful or not... but IMO somebody will.

And as far as sponsors for Europe? I can't say I blame the Euro Tour for going East and South... but perhaps they've overdone it by trying to have such an aggressive year round schedule.... I dunno. There's something to be said about "if you're not growing, you're dying". If the economy or sponsorship base in Europe won't support more, or is contracting... then what are they to do? And yes, I think you are being too pessimistic... What was Bill Clinton's election mantra: "it's the economy stupid". There's a lot to be said for that. SOMEDAY... the economies of Europe (and America for that matter) will sort itself back out... and I think the Euro Tour will regain any strength it may have lost.

Notice the PGAT isn't sitting on their Laurels either. There's the CIMB Malaysia and they're expanding in South America with the creation of the new LatinoAmerica Tour (to replace the TLA) and they've [quietly] taken a financial interest in the Canadian Tour. Those are "minor league" events for now, but at the very least they're feeders to the Web.com and ultimately PGAT, and probably a good long term investment with maybe some more "big tour" events in those areas some day.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Tue 07 Aug 2012, 12:51 am

No reports yet of any withdrawals from this week's PGA Championship with Messrs Crane, Jaidee and Taniguchi apparently out of their sick beds, and Karlsson deciding to give it a go after outing himself about the Na-like full swing yips reports say he's been suffering from, and which kept away from Lytham's first tee.

McGirt is in the field having been promoted from "first alternate" whenBradley won the Bridgestone; the list of alternates is now:
1). Stroud
2). Jerry Kelly
3). Pride
4). Steele
5). Kevin Stadler
6). Summerhays
7). Hearn
8). Villegas

Just noticed that the very eligible Steve Elkington is not in the field. He's w/d'd from both his starts this season and turns fifty in four months' time. Once voted the man Tour pros would most like on their side in a bar-room barney, but with a golfswing to die for, it's a shame to see the Elk leave the stage.

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Post by robopz on Tue 07 Aug 2012, 1:24 am

kwinigolfer wrote:No reports yet of any withdrawals from this week's PGA Championship with Messrs Crane, Jaidee and Taniguchi apparently out of their sick beds, and Karlsson deciding to give it a go after outing himself about the Na-like full swing yips reports say he's been suffering from, and which kept away from Lytham's first tee.

If in fact the top-100 all make the start, I believe that will be the first time in the history of the OWGR that's happened. The PGA has been inviting the top-100 for at least 5 years now... but every year there has been at least one injury, other absence... or a new player or two not previously in the top-100 two weeks before when invitations go out, slipped into the top-100 in the final week. (I think that's why the PGA invited through #107 this year... just in case one of those fractionally outside the top-100 moved up)

Also... if all invited make the start... I believe the 2012 PGA will have the strongest OWGR Event Rating Value in history (927)... I've been tracking this since 2006... and none has been higher. I can't be positive on this point, but I believe the invite criteria for all the events prior to 2005 would not have allowed any of them to have an ERV above 927.

Also... for a while now I've been tracking a sum of the OWGR averages for all players in the field. IMO this is better than using OWGR Event Rating Values as the sum method accounts for ALL ranked players, while the OWGR field strength calculation gives credit for players in the top-200 only. IMO the SoA method more accurately reflects a deeper field of an event like the PLAYERS. Below is a chart of the 8 events, ranked in order by the Sum of Averages.

Event (World ERV + Home ERV = Total Event Rating Value) - Sum of OWGR averages of all players in the field.


PGA (852 + 75 = 927) - 359.986
British Open (759 + 70 = 829) - 322.107
Players (707 + 69 = 776) - 308.568
U.S. Open (756 + 73 = 829) - 301.866
WGC Bridgestone (717 + 71 = 788) - 261.035
Masters (730 + 72 = 802) - 257.586
WGC Doral (741 + 75 = 816) - 250.072
WGC Match Play (710 + 71 = 781) - 228.962

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Post by sirbenson on Tue 07 Aug 2012, 1:55 am

http://espn.go.com/golf/story/_/id/8238536/tiger-woods-head-malaysia-cimb-classic
Kwini
Here is the story regarding Tiger Woods not playing in Shanghai,

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Post by kwinigolfer on Tue 07 Aug 2012, 1:59 am

robo,
That's fascinating.
Is that specifically the players who actually tee it up, or those that qualify? The Open and The Players customarily have a handful or more of golfers who choose not to play.

Most pros would also say that the PGA year in, year out also has the best course set-up. A Yorkshireman doing the job for a quintessentially American organization ticks most 606v2 bases!

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Post by kwinigolfer on Tue 07 Aug 2012, 2:05 am

Thanks benson. thumbsup
The story I had read didn't have the full schedule insight. Surprised he's not playing the HSBC though as I believe he gave HSBC's generosity to his foundation as a primary reason for playing Abu Dhabi instead of Dubai (and San Diego).


57 European Tour members of one sort or another in Kiawah this week.

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Post by robopz on Tue 07 Aug 2012, 2:50 am

kwinigolfer wrote:robo,
That's fascinating.
Is that specifically the players who actually tee it up, or those that qualify? The Open and The Players customarily have a handful or more of golfers who choose not to play.

Most pros would also say that the PGA year in, year out also has the best course set-up. A Yorkshireman doing the job for a quintessentially American organization ticks most 606v2 bases!

Kwini... I've worked it both ways over the years. Generally I figure it first on the actual field... (which is what I presented above) Then I figure it again adding in those that were invited but did not play due to injury. I do NOT feel that adding in invited players who choose not to play is a fair reflection of the field (except for possibly maternity?). I'll dig up the specifics on what the values would have been later on if you want but basically here's how it shook out this year.

WGC Match Play - The top-64 are invited. #9 Mickelson chose not to play so I wouldn't add him. #24 Paul Casey would have played but was injured. But because of movement in the rankings in the final week #66 and #68 played.

WGC Doral - The top-50 were invited... and All played. If there were injuries or voluntary WD's, it would have been for players below #50. The field finished with 68 of the top-100.

Masters - The top-50 were invited... All played except for Dustin Johnson who was injured. As it turned out the field had 69 of the top-100, would have been 70 with DJ.

Players - The top-50 were invited... #17 Dustin Johnson, #34 Bjorn out with injury, #4 Bubba Watson out for maternity (I would have added those 3) #14 Schwartzel, #44 Lawrie, #46 Hansen were invited but chose not to play (I would not have added them) I can tell you the additions on that one for DJ, Bjorn and Bubba would have been 54 ERV's and 14.264 to the sum of averages. The final field had 70 top-100, but would have been 73 with the 3 additions. The strength of the Players field is that all but 11 of the 145 players were #300 or better, and the worst player in the field was #500.

U.S. Open - The top-60 were invited - #26 Snedeker and #58 Casey were injured so I would have added them. #29 Lawrie chose not to play so I wouldn't have added him. 74 of the top-100 played in the end.

Open Championship - The top-50 were invited - Missing were #5 Webb Simpson and #21 Jason Day were out maternity. #33 David Toms (Injured) 82 of the top-100 played.

WGC Bridgestone - The top-50 were invited - Missing was #5 Webb Simpson due to maternity. 69 of the top-100 participated.

And there is one more factor that is NOT presented above that affects the Sum of Averages but NOT the Event Rating Values. Calendar Bias. As it works out... there are more points populating the rankings as the year goes on. So the sum of average for all players in the OWGR are lower at the Match Play and grow slowly through the PGA. The Calendar bias is roughly neutral from the first two WGC's through the Masters, then goes up to reach about a 3% gain by the PGA (using the sum of the top 300 as the measuring point, 3.3% using the sum of the top-500 as the measuring point) . So to be VERY accurate... either the earlier events need to be adjusted upwards to the high point at the PGA, or the later events need to be adjusted lower to the low point of the WGC Match Play.

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