SHANGHAI (AP) ― The PGA Tour no longer is looking for new tournaments in Asia as it considers revamping the schedule so that a new season would start in the fall after the FedEx Cup is over.
PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said Sunday that if players approve the idea of a fall start to the season, then it would be easy to give the HSBC Champions equal status as the other three World Golf Championships. That would include making prize money official.
That would give the PGA Tour two Asia stops ― the Asia Pacific Classic in Malaysia and the HSBC Champions ― which Finchem feels is adequate combined with the domestic tournaments.
The earliest a fall start could happen is 2013, and Finchem said much of that depends on a player meeting in January at Torrey Pines and the next policy board meeting in March.
“We have a combination set of changes in front of the players that would relate to restructuring the Nationwide Tour and maybe restarting the season in the fall,” Finchem said. “If we go down that road, it makes it a lot easier. And that’s the road I’d like to go down.”
Tour officials have been studying a concept that would merge top Nationwide Tour players with PGA Tour players who fail to qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs. They would play their own series of events to determine who gets tour cards for the following season, while qualifying school would offer Nationwide Tour cards.
If that happens, a new season could start with what is now the Fall Series, and it would include Malaysia and Shanghai. Both tournaments would offer official money and FedEx Cup points toward the following year.
“There are issues with it,” Finchem said. “The players need to support us. We have some work to do, although I don’t know of anyone who has huge problems with the specifics. But, change is change.”