Doug Ferguson kicks off his annual look at field strength with a quote from Jeff Maggert about the impact the WGC events have had on the PGA Tour:
''When I started, the tournaments were very consistent week to week,'' Maggert said. ''Now there seems to be a real up-and-down on strength of fields. That's just the way the Tour has evolved. The World Golf Championships have really hurt the consistency of the rest of the tournaments out here.''
And regarding the strongest fields, non-WGC, non-major and non-The Players:
The strongest tournament not on that list was the Memorial, which attracted 15 of the top 20 players in this week's world ranking. The only other regular tournaments that had at least 10 of the top 20 were the Northern Trust Open at Riviera (12) and the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill (11).
The surprise was that nine players were at the Transitions Championship outside Tampa, Fla., which is in dire need of a title sponsor. The Copperhead course at Innisbrook is one of the best-kept secrets on Tour, and some believe it's the best tournament course in all of Florida. The other tournaments drawing at least nine players were the Phoenix Open and the Zurich Classic, which has a separate ambassador program that compensates some players in the field.