Tiger Woods, shown here at CordeValle in October, gave the tournament a huge boost in visibility.
It’s not quite as headline-grabbing as luring Tiger Woods to the Bay Area, but the Frys.com Open stands one step closer to becoming the PGA Tour’s season-opening event in October 2013.
The tour’s policy board announced today it had approved a proposal to reshape next year’s schedule. At its essence, the new format calls for the 2014 season to officially begin the previous fall – with those tournaments, now known as the Fall Series, becoming full-fledged events.
That will add another layer of legitimacy to the Frys.com Open, held outside San Jose the past two years and scheduled this season for Oct. 11-14 at CordeValle. It doesn’t necessarily mean Woods will return, or other big-name players suddenly will flock to the South Bay, but it gives the event some fresh cachet.
“We consider it progress,” tournament director Jeffrey Sanchez said. “We look forward to possibly being the lead (event). We’re optimistic … and we think it would give players more incentive to come out and play.”
PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem, speaking in Orlando, said the tour hasn’t decided which event will serve as the season opener. But all indications point to the Frys.com Open, which gained national attention when Woods, trying to come back from knee and Achilles injuries, showed up last fall. He tied for 30th.
Tour officials, by starting future seasons in October rather than January, plan to begin awarding FedEx Cup points at the fall tournaments held after the Tour Championship. Left unresolved is whether those events, such as the Frys, will offer full FedEx Cup points.
“That’s still an open question and, for us, a really important question,” Sanchez said. “We want to be on that level, treated and respected like other tournaments on the schedule.”
Today’s move by the policy board also means the end of Qualifying School as a way for players to directly reach the PGA Tour; Q School now will offer a path only to the Nationwide Tour. A three-tournament September “playoff” series will be held (involving players from both tours), with 50 PGA Tour cards at stake.
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