Sorting Out The Wildly Entertaining Presidents Cup Scheduling Brouhaha

This one appears only interesting to a few bigwigs until you start to read about the ramifications and the hilarious backdown of a PGA Tour that for once, was outleveraged.

Here goes...

The European Tour schedules the 2011 South African Open the week of the Presidents Cup, even though the Cup's date had been set for some time. Ernie Els, not exactly a favorite of his teammates, balks and suggests he might play the South African Open instead.

Fast forward to the Masters and the all mighty Big Oak negotiating sessions where the PGA Tour, European Tour, Sunshine Tour and a certain heavyset player agent ironed out a deal that, according to Steve Elling who first broke the news on, has this year's South African Open swap dates with the Dunhill Cup in South Africa, allowing the South Africans to play in the Presidents Cup and their home Open.

The real stunner in Elling's report, which was confirmed today by AP's Gerald Imray: South Africa gets a WGC event at least this year, and perhaps for the next five. Even more amazing, it'll have a $10 million purse, the richest on the PGA Tour.

The tour had no choice but to back down, notes Elling.

Five of the top six players on the Presidents Cup's current International Team points list are native South Africans who would have faced the decision of whether to play their national Open or the team event held in years when the Ryder Cup isn’t contested.

The source said that Australian players might have backed the boycott, too.

So combine the South Africans with the Aussies and well, you have no Presidents Cup team. Which would explain how, even with the date set long before the others, the PGA Tour had to cave even though we know Tim Finchem would rather talk about his old speeding ticket problem than play a World Golf Championship event outside the United States.

Even more amusing, Tiger's Chevron tournament has now been drawn into the equation. Sunshine Commissioner Gareth Tindall, quoted in the AP story:

A date and venue hasn't been decided but Tindall says organizers will look at the first weekend of December, clashing with Tiger Woods' Chevron Challenge and South Africa's own Nedbank Challenge at Sun City.

On Woods' event, Tindall says, "they will have to move it."

And you thought the Presidents Cup was meaningless...