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Reinforcements Needed To Shore Up PGA Tour's Opening Pro-Am...

Arguably the most interesting thing about this year's lightly anticipated Hyundai Championship: changes in gear. Doug Ferguson reports on Nick Watney's full move to Nike, a bold change for such an elite player. Then again, like Rory says, it's all coming from the same factory!

Rex Hoggard has some of the other comings and goings, including two defections from Nike in Cink and Glover.

Also in Ferguson's notes column is more sign of (A) KJ's class and (B) the demise of the tournament of champions that figures to only be further strained when the "calendar year" schedule kicks in this fall.

K.J. Choi offered to fly to Maui to take part in the Tournament of Champions pro-am because a few extra players were required to fill out the 30-man field. Korean-based Hyundai is the tournament sponsor. Jerry Kelly also is playing in the pro-am. He flew in from Wisconsin, and that much was clear Monday when he unzipped his golf bag and removed hand warmers.

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Reader Comments (16)

They are currently on a "calendar year" - I would call next year's format a "fiscal year" as it is out of sync with the Jan-Dec "calendar year."

Just be thankful the PGA Tour is not adopting the Julian calendar - otherwise, the final round at Kapalua would be played on Christmas night.
01.1.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAbu Dhabi Golfer
Eligible but missing big names from the TOC field: Phil, Rory, Tiger, Luke, Ernie, Sergio. What is wrong with Hawaii in January?
01.2.2013 | Unregistered CommenterGus
Stange sked for the Hundai Fri-Monday with a 3-hr. TV window for NBC on Sunday. Anyone know why?
01.2.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMedia maven
If you win and qualify for this tourney and don't play this event, the PGA should impose sanctions, and they should be severe enough to make a player show up.

Lots of money thrown at these players, and these sponsors deserve to get their money's worth.
01.2.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
Geoff you do realize that the Tournament of Champions was played four months into the season for its first 33 years, right?

Re: demise, see "Twain, Mark."
01.2.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAbe Froeman
Digsouth, with you 100%. Really a shame and I know they "independent contractors", but if they don't support the sponsors they will go away and spend their money elsewhere....that is a fact.
01.2.2013 | Unregistered Commenterol Harv
Yes, thanks Abe I do. My point is, it may continue to get few bodies now that the fall events matter. But I know you boys down in Ponte Vedra will do your best harassing, hair pulling and other leveraging to prevent that!
01.2.2013 | Registered CommenterGeoff
Why don't they play ? 1) Way to close to the Holidays 2) Not enough offseason, 3) It is very far away, 4) Going to Hawaii to play in a tourney is not a huge incentive for these guys - they can go whenever they want or other similar luxurious locales. If you want everyone there, start it the week after the Super Bowl - but obviously other events would get clipped.
01.2.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
@Media maven:
NFL conflict - NBC has the two Saturday playoff games and second one starts at 8 ET. Final round on Monday during prime time for most of the mainland, short hop to the next tourney logistically. It's a good move.
01.2.2013 | Unregistered CommenterNRH
Independent Contractors. Uh huh. Maybe 30-40 years ago. How many other independent contractors have a double platinum, diamond studded "deferred compensation" plan like the one offered from Ponte Vedra? La Habra Post Card Company, for example? Like all members of the 1% and above, their classification of themselves varies with context. Salt-of-the-earth independent contractor one minute, usually when someone gently whispers something about "obligations." Proud member of the PGA TOUR when enough cuts have been made and the career begins to disappear into the mist. Yeah, I know. All of the rest of us think we are "middle class," from the receptionist out front making $28,500 (college degree required, naturally) to the doctor in the back making $400,000, but what we think makes no difference.
01.2.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
There are tournaments every week on the PGA Tour from January 3 all the way through October. 33 in a row as a matter of fact, + the 4 Playoff events if a player qualifies. Most of the top guys have determined that somewhere between 15 and 25 is the optimal number of events to balance opportunities for money, points, ect, with fatigue or other life obligations. So 20. So that means 13 weeks, about 1/3 of the events are skipped by every player. The top guys who focus on Majors, have made tons of money anyway and so on are even more choosy. Just about everyone week you hear complaining from one group or the other (ie: "This is an insult to Ben Hogan who started the Colonial, etc) about why all the top guys should play their event. If you want all the big stars to play every week, then set up a LPGA like schedule - they get all of them just about every week. Say 20 events. Otherwise enough please.
01.2.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
I always thought this tournament should open itself up to all winners on the PGA and European Tour winners. The Euro guys would probably love to get out of the cold and come to Hawaii.

If you can't get enough there open it up to the Seniors and the LPGA.
01.2.2013 | Unregistered CommenterGary
On another note...Watney in Nike clothes? Let's hope he got some serious cash out of that deal...considering that he was outfitted by Boss prior...that's a bit of a wardrobe downgrade in my opinion!
01.2.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlex H
Downgrade in golf wardrobe, oh brother. Reminds me of the berating Lehman got for wearing/endorsing Dockers khakis. Frankly speaking, having lived and worked in Asia for the last 10 years and having physically visited those plants that make shoes and clothes, the quality differences between these brands are so small anyway. I thought the economic crisis would cure the brand-infatuation but I guess not.
01.2.2013 | Unregistered Commenternguyenvuminh
Clothes and shoes are like golf clubs. They all come from the same factory.
01.2.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
I bought some Boss dress slacks 'cause I thought I was getting quality - not as durable or well made as Lands End.
01.3.2013 | Unregistered Commenter3foot1

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