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New look on its way, Love says
By BOB HARIG
Published October 27, 2005
PALM HARBOR - The golf season is not going to be shortened, but it is likely to look quite different. Davis Love should know. He is a member of the PGA Tour's policy board and has been privy to discussions about a new look that has been rumored for months to take place in 2007.
Although Love said nothing is final, he hinted that it is all but certain a NASCAR-like points race will lead up to the Tour Championship, which will likely be moved to September. And he maintains that tournaments played in the fall months still will count on the PGA Tour money list.
"There will be just as many rounds of golf in '97 as there are in '06," Love said on Wednesday at the Westin Innisbrook Resort, where play begins today in the Chrysler Championship. "I think that's one of the big misconceptions. They thought all of these tournaments were going to get canceled. We'll have just as many tournaments, just a different order."
Love could not say if the Chrysler Championship might be moving to March or staying in the fall but did give his endorsement to the tournament venue.
"I think this tournament has had a strong community support, strong sponsorship," he said. "It's a great market for a sponsor. I think it can step up in any time of the year."
ANOTHER VIEW: Robert Gamez, who recently won the Texas Open - his first victory since winning twice in 1990, is among a large group of players who prefer to see the PGA Tour leave its schedule alone.
Gamez believes that the push to raise purses is not necessary. The Chrysler Championship, for example, has gone from $4.8-million in 2003 to $5-million last year to $5.3-million this year. Next year, it is scheduled to be $5.5-million.
"We've got 30 guys making over $2-million this year," Gamez said. "How can that be a bad thing? There's plenty. And the top 125 (money winners) are going to make over $600,000. I don't see how we need to raise (purses). We could probably take a little bit of a hit and save some of our tournaments that have been around forever."
GETTING AROUND: Australia's Adam Scott is playing the Chrysler Championship for the first time after a whirlwind year that has seen him play all around the world. In addition to his PGA Tour schedule, Scott has played PGA European Tour events in Australia, China, Scotland and Sweden. He also won an Asian Tour event in Singapore. Although he calls Australia home, Scott, 25, lives in Crans-sur-Sierre, Switzerland, where he returned from last week.
"I'm not there very often because it's hard to get back there all the time," he said. I spent a month there a year, maybe. But I don't spend that much time anywhere I else. I only spend a couple of months in Australia a year and that's really my home. It's kind of a traveling gypsy lifestyle. But I'm enjoying it."
SKIN CANCER AWARENESS: PGA Tour player Steve Flesch was at the Carac Sponsorship Tent on Wednesday afternoon as part of a skin cancer public awareness program that will continue through the weekend. "Mostly, we're just trying to get people to apply sun screen and cover up," Flesch said. "Especially in places like this where people are exposed to the sun all year long, sun-friendly places."
The Carac tent is located behind the 18th green of the Copperhead course and free skin cancer screenings will take place today through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
AROUND INNISBROOK: Weekend tee times for the tournament have been changed and will begin at approximately 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, 9:30 a.m. on Sunday. Groups will go over the first and 10th tees in threesomes. ... In Wednesday morning's Progress Energy Pro-Am, the team led by pro Rory Sabbatini finished first with a score of 11-under 60. Sabbatini's amateur partners were Ralph Jernigan, Andy McAdams and Miles Davidson. In the afternoon shotgun, Robert Gamez's team also shot 60. His amateur partners were Ed Sierwski, Harry Hearns and Peter Farrell.