The PGA Tour announced the schedule for the first six events of the 2014 season. It will begin the week following the Presidents Cup on October 10-13, 2013 with the Frys.com Open.
If you remember, the Frys.com was part of the Fall Series that gave players outside the Top 125 a chance to move up and earn their playing privileges for the following year.
Although the old Fall Series events did not issue FedEx Cup points, they did provide official PGA Tour money. These six events that will begin the 2014 season offer FedEx Cup points and the money is counted to official earnings for the 2014 season.
There is also a big boost in the purses for these tournaments. In 2012, the Frys.com total purse was $5 million and the McGladrey Classic was $4 million. To be eligible to be a FedEx Cup event, the total prize money offered has to total $6 million.
The increase in total prize money plus the addition of two events at the end of the year will add nearly $20 million that will be available to the Top 125 players on the PGA Tour beginning with the 2014 season.
One casualty is the Children Miracle Network Hospitals Classic that was held at Disney World and has been the last event on the PGA Tour for several years. The tournament was unable to find a sponsor that could fund the $6 million guaranteed purse that was required under the new guidelines.
Here are the tournaments and the dates of the six events that will start the 2014 PGA Tour season at the end of 2013.
Frys.com October 10-13 St. Martin, California
Shriners Hospitals for Children Open October 17-20 Las Vegas, Nevada
CIMB Classic October 24-27 Selangor, Malaysia
WGC-HSBC Champions November 1-4 Shanghai, China
McGladrey Classic November 7-10 Sea Island, Georgia
OHL Classic November 14-17 Mayakoba, Mexico
These six tournaments do create some travel and scheduling problems for the players. There are no off weeks and travel is required from the continental U.S. to Malaysia after the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas.
After the tour spends two weeks in Asia, the return trip from China to Georgia for the McGladrey Classic is very difficult. This could hurt the field for the McGladrey as the top players will want to play in the WGC event in China and will not be too excited to tee up after losing a day and several hours on the return trip.
The bottom line is that the PGA Tour now has a new wrap-around schedule that begins in the fall of 2013. Prize money and the number of tournaments for the players have increased.
Will the players embrace the world travel and the opportunity?
If you pay them, they will come.