News & ToursJuly 1, 2010

An idea whose time has come (or keeping the money flowing)

The PGA Tour apparently has begun to take seriously the fact that the inability of its rank-and-file tournaments to attract representative fields threatens to alienate sponsors.

PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem addressed it at the AT&T National earlier this week, noting that the tour is considering a system by which top-tier players each year would be required to play a tournament from a pool of lesser events in an effort to buttress their marquees.

Maybe it won't help (Jason Sobel of ESPN.com makes this argument here). But it's an idea worth trying. Most seem to agree that something needs to be done, lest the gravy train derails.

Finchem is correct in noting that it isn't strictly a Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson issue, a way of getting the tour's top draws to play elsewhere once in a while. It's about the future and instilling the next generation with the ability to recognize its responsibility to a game that has enriched them.

This is not, incidentally, a lesson it will learn on its own. Recall that Finchem attempted a voluntary solution in December of 2009, by asking players to add a tournament or two to their historical schedules as a means of helping out the second-tier events.

It failed miserably.

-- John Strege

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