For the last while, the PGA Tour has been considering some pretty major scheduling changes for the future. Yesterday, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem approved those changes, and they will take place in the fall of 2013. For those of you who don’t know what it will entail, here is a brief rundown.
- The four tournaments known as the Fall Series, will now become eligible for FedEx cup points. Since they are played after the Tour Championship, the FedEx cup points earned in these four events will effectively be applied to the next season (meaning the 2013 Fall Series will be part of the 2014 PGA Tour season). After the four tournaments have been played, there will be a six week break until the beginning of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in January.
While it’s understandable that the PGA Tour and the Sponsors of the Fall Series events would want to increase viewership and generate ticket sales, Spreadsheet Fantasy does not feel this is the way to go about doing it. It raises a number of serious issues regarding the distribution of the schedule, as well as whether there should be any change at all with the PGA Tour doing so well right now. One major issue with this new format, is that once the first four tournaments of the season are played, there is a six week gap before the start of the Hyundai. Is there any other major league that has a six week gap between events? Even tennis, with it’s severely flawed scheduling, manages to keep some interest between events. To have four events that don’t really receive any attention from the media or the worlds top players, then a six week gap, then eight straight months of golf doesn’t make sense (and don’t tell me that the Shark Shootout counts). Finchem’s thinking on the matter, appears to be that if there is FedEx cup points on the line, the draw will be much bigger for the fall tournaments. However, would 500 FedEx Cup points being on the line 47 weeks before the start of the FedEx Cup Playoffs make a Bryce Molder-Briny Baird 1-2 finish any more exciting? The world #1 Luke Donald, and the hottest PGA Tour player of 2011 Webb Simpson, were competing down to the wire to both win the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic and top the 2011 money list. If a setup like that isn’t going to draw in viewers, then including it in the FedEx Cup probably won’t help much either.
Also, as much as we here at SSF love golf, the start of the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open is just a week and a half removed from having closely followed 37 consecutive weeks of PGA Tour golf, culminating in the Tour Championship, when a winner is decided for both the FedEx Cup, and the SSF league. It doesn’t matter how much you love golf, when you’ve just wrapped up a successful season of that length, no one is thinking about starting the next season TEN days later. This means that we would have to wrap up the season, declare keepers, set up the draft, have the draft, input all the players, and input our rosters for the first week (where most of us would have only one or two guys playing) all within a stretch of ten days, when most people are dealing with their NFL and NHL leagues, as well as school. All this move does is put fantasy leagues in a tough position of having to choose whether to cram their off-season (declaring keepers, trading picks and players, having a draft) into one week and count the entire PGA Tour season, or skip the first four weeks and have to deal with seeing some Nationwide hacker leading the money list and FedEx Cup for the first few months of the REAL season. Since SSF is a democratic dictatorship, we’ll have a vote on which option we want sometime before the start of our 2013 season (gee, I wonder what the result will be). To sum things up, this change just feels forced and unnecessary, and although it may not affect Spreadsheet Fantasy that much, it is still sad to see a change like this from a format that worked so well.