There have been more positive than negative reactions to a new tour rule, requiring golfers who don’t have at least 25 starts in the previous season to add an event to their schedules that they haven’t played in the last four years of their active careers.
The negative is a possible major penalty for those who refuse to comply with the new rule, resulting in a $20,000 fine or suspension.
But overall, feedback from players and fans have been favorable. English golfer Paul Casey is happy about it. “It’s a good rule,” he says. “Maybe there are events that have had weaker fields in the past, they might get a couple of guys they might not ordinarily get.” Certain tournaments may also benefit from a star power boost they wouldn’t normally get otherwise.
This decision comes after decades of debate due to the rights of independent contractors and strength-of-field concerns. The improvement of tee sheets has long been in the works but some players have expressed opposition, mainly due to scheduling restrictions and planning.
The compromise, however, assures players they will have plenty of time to forward plan the addition to their schedules, while also being able to enjoy occasional field improvements without being penalized to second-tier status. In reality, a percentage of players won’t even be affected by the new rule. Of the 125 players who advanced to the playoffs this season, 78 played 25 or more events, making them exempt. A player is also exempt from the rules if they are a veteran golfer above the age of 45. Just another perk of aging!
The rule could also end up encouraging players to branch out and play in tournaments they’ve been meaning to participate in anyway. “For me, it really wasn’t much of an issue because there were a couple I really wanted to play, but for some reason it hadn’t worked out,” pro player Ryan Moore stated.
But for those who split their schedules between PGA and the European circuit could potentially struggle with the rule as the European tour has its own requirements. “If this is your only tour, it’s a fair rule. If you’re playing two tours, then it’s tough,” Casey added.