ESPN has an interesting article on how scheduling of tournaments creates difficulties for palyers, and for tournament organizers.
It is a common refrain in this era of big-money tournaments all over the world. The major championships, Players Championship, BMW PGA, FedEx Cup playoffs, the Chase for Dubai on the European Tour starting next year—all of these prizes for which players can or will compete tend to put a squeeze on the so-called little guy … even though the Colonial should hardly be considered tiny.
Played at Colonial Country Club in Forth Worth, Texas, the tournament has a who’s who of champions, starting with Hogan—who won the inaugural Colonial in 1946 and captured the last of his 63 tour victories there in 1959—and continuing with Sam Snead, Robert de Vicenzo, Arnold Palmer, Billy Casper, Lee Trevino, Ben Crenshaw, Jack Nicklaus, Nick Price, Tom Watson, Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia.
“With us being an invitational, we feel like we should have a leg up inherently with the players. But it’s a challenge,” said Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial tournament director Peter Ripa. “You have 20-plus players in the top 30 in the world who are international players. And it’s a world sport now. To have those guys have to make a decision on the same week—it’s a challenge for both events. We expect to have five of the top 10 [in the world rankings]. They’ll probably have three or four [in Europe]. Obviously you’d love to see the numbers greater at both.
We’ve seen a lot of this with the new PGA Tour scheduling. Quite a few tournaments have found themselves in an awkward position where they are practically guaranteed that they won’t get the top players. Think about the poor Canadian Open, scheduled for the week after the British Open. Or the Travellers Championship in Connecticut, slated for the week after the US Open in Torrey Pines.
Some have suggested that a “cure” is to require players to appear at every tournament once every so many years, as the LPGA does. A better way might be to rotate the bad spots on the schedule among the tournaments themselves.