PGA, Web.com Tours get closer on settling schedule changes
The Tour Championship is, at last, the final official event of the PGA Tour season -- starting in 2013. Yet many PGA Tour players will have another week of work ahead of them at that time next year. That's because the finale of the proposed three-tournament Web.com Tour series is going to be the following week.
Golf World has learned that the playoff series in which Web.com players and PGA Tour players vie for 25 PGA Tour cards is scheduled to end on Sept. 29, the week after the Tour Championship in Atlanta. Furthermore, that "playoff" event has a strong chance of being staged in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., at PGA Tour headquarters.
It's all part of evolving developments on the PGA Tour as it gears up for a set of sweeping changes to the sport starting next year, changes that include the commencement of a split-calendar season and the elimination of Q School as a direct route to the PGA Tour.
This year's Web.com Tour ends Oct. 28 with the Web.com Tour Championship at TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney, Texas, meaning there's work to be done to rearrange the junior circuit to finish just two weeks before the new PGA Tour season starts Oct. 10 at the Fry's.com Open.
"That is one of the real challenges," Bill Calfee, president of the Web.com Tour, said by telephone. "We have to cut the season by a month, which is proving to be difficult. But we're getting there."
Tour officials also are making progress in identifying the three sites for the playoff series, each which offers a $1 million purse. Those events will be open to the top 75 on the Web.com Tour and 75 more from the PGA Tour who finish 126-200 on the regular season FedExCup points list.
Calfee said five sites are under consideration, and he confirmed that existing events in Columbus, Ohio, and Ponte Vedra Beach are in the mix. The latter currently is the site of the Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open presented by Planters at Dye's Valley Course at TPC Sawgrass.
"I don't think it would be any surprise that we'd love to have the season-ending event be here at PGA Tour headquarters and home to our sponsor, Web.com," Calfee said.
He added that officials of the Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational have approached the tour about hosting the first playoff event in mid-September. The six-year-old tournament is staged at Ohio State University's Scarlet Course.
As for the remaining contenders, not all are at existing sites. Web.com Tour sources told Golf World that one site under consideration is the Neediest Kids Championship presented by Under Armour at TPC Potomac at Avenal Farms in Potomac, Md. Geography might dictate the final selections.
"There was a push to have at least one event on the west coast, but the logistics are pretty tough," said one player. "The main idea is that you can't have three events all in the same geographic location. You want to give them different kinds of courses, different grasses, etc."
Calfee said no decisions on sites have been finalized, but an announcement could come in the next 5-6 weeks.
-- Dave Shedloski