Sagging Economy Hits PGA Tour

In spite of PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem’s protestations to the contrary, the sagging economy has hit the PGA Tour.

As it now stands, the Tour’s Fall Series will be short two tournaments in 2009. This past week, it was announced that the Ginn Company had closed the Ginn sur Mer Classic. A second tournament, the Valero Texas Open, was moved to the “regular” season to replace the now-defunct AT&T event in Atlanta.

Seven Fall Series tournaments were hend in 2008. Five now are scheduled for 2009. No matter how Finchem spins that one, it’s a loss.

And it has to be blamed on the economy. The Ginn Company, primary a real estate developer, apparently is scaling back on all sorts of projects.

Of course, the big names won’t be immediately hit by the losses. The Fall Series—held after the top players hang up their spikes following the FedEx Cup—mostly is for third tier players trying to earn some extra money to keep their tour cards.

But what should concern at least the second tier players is that the sizes of the fields in the FedEx Cup are being reduced. The Barclays will be down from 144 to 125 and The Deutsche Bank to 100 from 125. That’ll reduce paydays. And for a few, that means to keep their cards thei’ll have to enter a few Fall Series events—a now reduced Fall Series.

I’ll say again: I think the only long term solution for the PGA Tour is to require players to appear in every tournament at least once every four years.

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