The Loop

Proposed rule could impact players' schedules

June 02, 2010

DUBLIN, Ohio -- A proposed change to PGA Tour regulations could result in top players appearing in events where they have not traditionally played -- or where they have never played before.

While some details have yet to be ironed out, the new proposal would seek to impose a penalty on top players if they don't add one tournament to their schedule or replace one of their regular stops with one of a handful of designated tournaments with weaker fields.

The top 30 players from the FedEx Cup standings would be asked to pick from five events that had the weakest fields the previous year and add one of those five to his schedule. What isn't clear is what consequences a player faces for noncompliance.

"Everyone for the most part is OK with it. It's going to happen," said one player, speaking on condition of anonymity. "What we didn't get answered is, 'What's the penalty?' Basically, it might come down to Tim Finchem on whether it's a fine, suspension or FedEx Cup points. But Tim basically said, 'It needs to be on me.' "

"It's not that much different from what they've done in the past, which is that the tour has always come to the top players and asked them to try to support some of the other tournaments on the schedule," said Steve Stricker. "This just adds another element to it. There are details to be ironed out, but there will be consequences if players don't comply."

Also up for a vote at the next Policy Board meeting is a change in the field eligibility for the SBS Championship at Kapalua Resort in Maui, Hawaii. The season-opening event is the tour's tournament of champions, reserved for winners from the previous year.

Up for discussion is expanding the field to include winners from each of the past two years, starting as early as the 2011 event. Just 28 players competed this year at the Plantation Course, and the field was absent the tour's top two draws, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. Just 32 players competed in Maui in 2009.

Tournament director Gary Planos, reached by phone, declined to comment.

The next Policy Board meeting has not yet been scheduled. A tour official said a decision on the date of the next meeting will not be determined for a few weeks.

-- *Dave Shedloski