Frys.com Open will be kickoff event in ‘13
By Carl Steward
San Jose Mercury News
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
The Frys.com Open will prospectively lead off a revamped PGA Tour schedule in 2013 when the Tour moves its season’s start from January to October.
PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, saying it was “time to get better,” announced Tuesday that the Tour’s policy board approved two significant components toward an overhaul — the repositioning of the tournament year to begin in the fall, and the developmental Nationwide Tour becoming the primary path to get a PGA Tour card.
It was another big step for the Frys.com Open not only becoming a full-fledged PGA Tour event, but one that would kick off the new season immediately following the Presidents Cup the week of Oct. 7-13, 2013, tentatively at owner John Fry’s ultra-private club in Morgan Hill, The Institute.
The Frys.com Open has the greatest potential of a large purse and is geared toward being a big event. But there is one remaining potential obstacle. Left unresolved at the policy board meeting was the question of whether to award full FedEx Cup point status for the fall events. Finchem said that it remains a possibility that the fall events will receive full status, but that the issue won’t be settled until the 16-member policy board next meets in late June.
Not awarding equal points to the tournaments running from January to August could be a problem. Golf World magazine, in a story for its digital edition Monday, obtained a letter from the Frys.com Open in which it expressed “concern about continuing our sponsorship” if the fall events are only given half the points.
Tournament president Duke Butler would not comment specifically on the letter sent by tournament chairperson Kathy Kolder to Finchem. Butler did say that all of the Fall Series events have lobbied to gain full FedEx point status and he believes it ultimately will be approved.
“I believe the PGA Tour policy board will acknowledge that the fall tournaments have earned equal respect with the other co-sponsored tournaments,” Butler said by phone.
By starting the official season in October — shortly after the FedEx Cup season ends — it allows the Tour to give more value to the tournaments now part of the Fall Series. If they are not treated like other tournaments, odds are they would not renew their sponsorship, which would eliminate some $25 million in prize money.
While very optimistic a resolution will be favorable, Butler stopped short of saying it was a foregone conclusion.
“It’s a very progressive day for the Frys tournament,” he said. “But we have to wait another three months before receiving the final outcome.”
The Frys.com will still be part of the Fall Series in 2012 and will be held at CordeValle Golf Resort in San Martin.
Starting the season in October also means that Q-school no longer can be an avenue to the PGA Tour. Instead, Q-school will award cards for only the Nationwide Tour.
Finchem offered only a skeleton of the plan. After the FedEx Cup regular season ends in August 2013, the tour will take the top 75 players from the Nationwide Tour money list, along with the players who finished No. 126 through 200 on the PGA Tour money list, and have them play three tournaments. The top 50 will receive PGA Tour cards for the following season.
The biggest problem for the board is blending two very different tours.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.