Roughly a week away from the beginning of the new season it remains to be seen just what kind of impact the Tiger scandal will have on his schedule. Given his limited number of tournaments on a yearly basis he may not be seen until the Masters, in April. Just because Tiger is missing does not mean there won’t be great golf tournaments.
Some changes have been made to the schedule, such as Waste Management taking over as title sponsor for the FBR Open and the date being pushed back a month. Two goals will hopefully be accomplished by this move; putting an end to frost delays and getting a stronger field. The Waste Management Open will now be played the week after the WGC match play which is just north of Tucson. The hope is that with the top 64 players in the world an hour away to the week before, more will stick around for the WM Open. The tournament is famous for having outrageous crowds of over 100,000 a day and some 25,000+ on the 16th hole alone.
The player to watch has to be Phil Mickelson after his strong finish in 2009. If Tiger stays away for an extended period of time and Phil plays as well as he did last year we could have a new number one golfer in the world. Adam Scott seems to be coming back after a terrible year with some solid finishes in the fall. It seems as though every year on the PGA Tour the tournaments are more exciting and the fields are more evenly matched. Look for the spring schedule to bring some great tournaments to your TV.
The 2010 USGA Groove Rule also takes effect January 1. We may not see the full extent of the change until this spring and summer when the Tour heads to courses with long, thick rough. There is no doubt that it will have some affect but it may be hard to notice to those of us watching at home.
Overall the new season will have plenty of drama. Tiger will most likely have to dodge questions for his first few tournaments and Phil is playing the best golf of his life. It all sets up for a great year for golf fans.