Should the PGA Tour scrap its wrap-around season?October 9, 2017 The Scoop
The new PGA Tour season has begun, just days after the last one ended. How do we feel about this? Alex Perry and Dan Murphy lock horns in Alternate Shot
There is no off-season in professional golf thanks to the relatively new wrap-around schedules on both the PGA Tour and European Tour. Should they scrap this plan and have a break?
Yes, writes Alex Perry
Hey, remember when Justin Thomas won the 2017 FedEx Cup? Of course you do, it was literally days ago.
And now we sit here already one tournament into the 2018 campaign.
All sports have an off-season. It’s where the athletes recuperate and work on their games for the following year, and the fans briefly flirt with other pastimes for their kicks.
When the club football season stops from May to August, we take that time to reflect on the seasons past and ahead. Which players will come and go? Will there be a change of manager?
Golf doesn’t give us this time to sit back and take stock. One PGA Tour season merges into the next without so much of a draw for breath.
Why do we need a wrap-around season? Answer: We don’t.
Both the PGA and European Tours take breaks from early December until the New Year. Why would this not be your natural season end?
There are enough different climates across the US that you could comfortably begin the season in January and climax with the FedEx Cup in late November – then take five or six weeks off so we can all immerse ourselves in the hectic festive schedules of other sports, particularly football and the NFL.
Similarly, the European Tour season ends in November then begins again the following week with a quick flit around Asia, Australia and South Africa before its Christmas break.
For me, having the first event of a season the week after the often enthralling climax to the previous campaign dilutes the excitement somewhat – and it’s even more frustrating when the alternative is staring us all right in the face.
No, writes Dan Murphy
Of all golf’s many scheduling issues, the FedEx Cup play-offs being followed immediately by the start of the new wrap-around season offends me the least.
Call me a freak, but I find the start of the Fall Series events, the first of which, the Safeway Open, took place in California over the weekend, reinvigorating.
For the first time in several weeks, there are some narratives that interest me. There are some new players. And it means something to them because they are playing for their futures.
If you want to know what I can’t get into, it’s the FedEx Cup play-offs.
You are watching the same players getting richer by the week. It doesn’t mean anything beyond that – not to me at least.
Except that perhaps they must be relieved to be another week nearer having some time off.
For the rest of the year, I marvel at the PGA Tour’s ability to spread its big names around.
No matter when you switch it on, there is a Phil or a Dustin or a Rickie or a Jordan.
Then, in the FedEx Cup they all play every week for what seems like months.
They’re not fine-tuning their games for a major or trying to find some form for the season ahead. They are, to coin Ernie Els’ memorable description, cashing in on wheelbarrow season.
Once we get to the Safeway Open, the air is clear again and the hype has evaporated.
It’s ideal for the time of year – low-key golf that doesn’t pretend to be anything else building gently towards 2018. You can take it or leave it. I like it.