Should PGA Tour Require Participation?
By Kickntrue on 8/5/10
The PGA Tour is tossing around the idea of making its players enter every event once every couple of years. This would bolster Tour stops that year after year get neglected by the big boys. Who's kidding who, though? This is mostly about Tiger and Phil.
The PGA Tour this week took the first step toward requiring high-profile golfers to compete in smaller tournaments.


The proposal, which passed the policy board Tuesday, still must pass through the board again. But first, it goes to the Players Advisory Council.

"Because it's a tournament regulation, it has to be passed twice," PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said. "It was preliminarily approved in concept. Now we go back to the (Players Advisory Council) and work through the details, get some player input and bring it back to the fall meeting."

The initiative could be passed by September, Finchem said.

It would require players to play at least one of the smaller tournaments on Tour each season.
I'm torn on this one (as you shall see in my ramblings to follow). Part of me says that it makes a ton of sense. There are events that will be able to renew major sponsorships just on the fact that Tiger will who up every few years. At the same time, these guys are independent contractors, and last time I checked, an independent contractor can work and not work as he or she chooses. Counterpoint to that though, is that the PGA Tour certainly has no obligation to "hire" an independent contractor they don't wish to use and who doesn't choose to follow their rules, which they have every right to make.

In the end... I guess that's where I come down on this. The PGA Tour can have any rules it wants- and then it's up to the players to see if they want to still play. Of course, if Tiger or Phil ever called their bluff- it could be terrible for the PGA Tour and their PR. Imagine if Tiger decided to just hang up the golf spikes in the USA and just play in majors (which the PGA Tour doesn't run). Tiger and Phil have enough exemptions to last for years of entry into those events. They could also choose to join the European Tour or possibly just play exhibition golf. Heck- you could argue Tiger and Phil working together (man, would that be the day...) could start their own tour in the USA. Actually... THAT would be pretty crazy. Scarily, I think they could do it.

It's the classic case of 80/20. The majority of the players on the PGA Tour already play in almost every event as the grind for their livelihoods. Heck- some of them may not want this from a selfish perspective. The money at the Greater Milwaukee Open doesn't really go down- why would you want to risk your check with Tiger, Phil and company in the event? It's going to be the elite 20% that control the date of this proposal though.

Do the big guys care to join in, for the good of the Tour? I guess we shall see.

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[ comments ]
TravisMiller says:
I think it is an interesting concept, Tiger and Phil both played these courses on their way up to the top of the list so sure require it, as long as it keeps in the spirit of the last line in your quote of the article.
mjaber says:
I think the right way to do it is to mirror the LPGA 1-in-4 rule. The problem is that the elite guys already have a lifetime exemption on the tour, so any rule that is created would need to change that. I don't see it happening.
birdieXris says:
Definitely an interesting concept. I just don't know how it'll go over until it happens. You have good points on both sides. Thing is, having bigger names there at these tournaments, while the money doesn't go down, COULD help the $$$ go UP. For the sponsors anyway -- wether or not they put it back into the purse at all is anybody's guess.

I just don't know about the whole thing. I think there needs to be a solid fact that the tourneys are in danger before they implement this rule.
Banker85 says:
I dont see this happening. It would be nice to see those guys a couple more times a year. If they make them play one lousy tournament a year what is the big deal?
preny says:
Quick note on the 'independent contractors' argument. The benefits that Tour players receive from the PGA are extremely generous. They may not be employees of the league, but they all know how much better off they are being at the party.

My questions are about the logistics: what penalty is there if someone doesn't meet the criteria? A fine? A loss of tour card? If Tiger didn't show up would the PGA really not let him play in the Bridgestone that year etc.?

What about injuries and personal issues? Will the players be losing the freedom and flexibility that made their 'independent contractor' model so appealing.

I understand why they want big names in more different tournaments, but implementing such a change is not going to be easy. Look at how much of a mess the meaningless groove debacle has become.
Dixon Golf says:
Golf needs stars to continue to gain popularity. For the casual sports fan, golfers like Tiger and Phil are make a tournament relevant. They're what gets talked about on ESPN. As unfair as it may be, that's the way it is.
Kickntrue says:
@Dixon Golf- that's 100% true. that doesn't mean Tiger and Phil have to care.
coojofresh says:
i say just leave it. the FedEx structure just needs to be readjusted to make those smaller tournaments count more. if that does not lure big name players then oh well. just leave it alone. don't start any disputes.
WhySo says:
I think this proposal is an exercise in human arrogance, in thinking you can ignore and control reality. A common trap "newly successful" economic entities almost always fall into. REALITY WORKS....ACCORDING TO THE HOW ITS ESSENTIAL REALITY PARTS RELATE TO EACH OTHER. Most think the economy is not working correctly. But I suggest it is working just as it always has.
Why is the economy working correctly[....Reality is a big and powerful feedback balancing machine.
I suggest golf first look at the WELL KNOWN PERMANENT REALITY. If "attendance" is down.....even tho you still seem to have and endless supply of volunteers and "sponsors" and for the moment TV revenue.......FOR THE MOMENT.....
Maybe just maybe......long term.....if you care that golf exist for a long time....because.....for a bunch of long term crterion reasons......chances are overwhelming ....long term....that there are far too many tournaments.
ElGalloGigante says:
Didn't we already cover this?
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