Time for some changes on the PGA Tour?

Originally Published: May 1, 2007
ESPN.com/GolfDigest.com

Good news, golf fans. You're about to embark on two weeks of top players actually competing in PGA Tour events.

That's right. Tiger Woods. Phil Mickelson. Ernie Els. Jim Furyk. Vijay Singh. They'll all be at Quail Hollow for this week's Wachovia Championship before heading to Ponte Vedra Beach for The Players Championship.

Should we be able to see these players more often? Should they be mandated to play other events on the schedule?

Our experts answer those questions in this week's edition of Fact or Fiction.

The PGA Tour should increase its 15-tournament minimum for current members.

Bob Harig, contributor, ESPN.com: FACT. If you are going to have so many events that are all but "mandatory'' -- four majors, three world events, Players Championship, four playoff events -- then you need to increase the number of tournaments these guys play. It's unfair to the rank-and-file tournaments that clamor for more big-name players.

Jason Sobel, golf editor, ESPN.com: FICTION. In theory, it's a good idea. But two notions will prevent it from happening: First, 99 percent of players compete in at least 20 events anyway, so it's a moot point; and second, with such a move, the tour would risk losing guys like Ernie Els, Retief Goosen and -- gasp! -- Tiger Woods as full-time members.

Ron Sirak, executive editor, Golf World: FICTION. Allowing players the freedom to play elsewhere in the world is good for the growth of the game, both as a competitive sport and as a recreational sport.

John Antonini, senior editor, Golf World: FACT. Why not 20 starts? That's still less than half the weeks the tour plays, giving ample time for vacation, rest, practice, money grabs on foreign tours, design projects, book deals, private appearances and other occurrences that keep some stars off the PGA Tour for what seems likes months on end.

The PGA Tour should mandate that players must play each event every four years, as is the rule on the LPGA.

Harig: FACT. You won't get this and an increase in the tour minimum, but this would be better. Every tournament on the schedule would know it was going to get the big names at least once in a four-year period and many would kill for that now.

Sobel: FACT. I can understand it not happening before, with the PGA Tour schedule in flux until this year. But now that there is a full schedule, there's no reason this rule shouldn't be implemented. If a city holds a tour event, its residents should be able to see the best players in the world every few years.

Sirak: FACT. The tour should lower the minimum tournament requirement to 12 and allow more competing-event exemptions in exchange for the players agreeing to play each tournament once in a four-year cycle.

Antonini: FICTION. I don't believe a player should be forced to play a tournament if he doesn't like the course or anything else about a certain venue. What about a rule stating a player may not take more than three weeks off between events unless there are extenuating circumstances? That would have gotten Phil Mickelson, for one, to play about three more times at the end of last season.

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