SAINT SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – In reviewing this new model of the FedEx Cup Fall, the PGA Tour must be thrilled with a few of its winners: Sahith Theegala’s debut win in Napa; Tom Kim’s repeat in Las Vegas; Collin Morikawa’s winless drought ends in Japan, the nation of his ancestors; Erik van Rooyen’s back-nine 28 and emotional win in Cabo; Camilo Villegas’s feel-good story in Bermuda; and capped off by Ludvig Aberg’s 61-61 weekend right here on the RSM Basic. The Sunday drama didn’t disappoint.
Beneath the floor, not everybody was so blissful, notably Jimmy Walker. who vented about how he needed to hold battling for 3 further months to maintain his card. (He slipped out of the highest 125 and may have conditional standing taking part in out of the Nos. 126-150 class subsequent season.)
As a substitute of the begin to a brand new wrap-around season, the highest 50 locked up their playing cards on the finish of the common season and not needed to fear about falling behind within the full slate of tournaments. Fairly, these with out exempt standing needed to play on throughout a seven-event factors chase to retain standing for the 2024 season, which begins in January. (The Fall additionally misplaced two occasions — CJ Cup and Houston Open — each of which joined the FedEx Cup common season, with CJ taking up title sponsorship of the Byron Nelson in Dallas and the Houston Open being promoted to a date within the spring.)
The highest gamers lastly acquired the low season they’d been begging for and the rank-and-file nonetheless acquired a number of taking part in alternatives with purses of no less than $8 million, full FedEx Cup factors on the road and an opportunity to qualify for 2 early-season Signature Occasions for many who ending in ‘The Subsequent 10’ within the last level standings. As Peter Malnati put it, the FedEx Cup Fall was “enjoyable and thrilling, until you’re one of many ones attempting to maintain your job after which it’s a pressure.”
In idea, there was one thing for gamers of all talent ranges to play for – even the highest 50 might earn further years to their exempt standing and qualify for tournaments such because the Masters and the Sentry with a win if not already in these fields – however was it a win-win for followers and sponsors too? Solely a used automobile salesman might make that promote, and it begs the query: will the Tour proceed to safe sponsors prepared to foot the invoice for tournaments the place the large names barely performed, if in any respect?
A number of execs expressed their concern for the way forward for the autumn schedule, which can change into more and more essential for gamers preventing for standing for the upcoming season.
“It’s powerful for me to see the way it’s going to be sustainable,” mentioned Mark Hubbard, considered one of six gamers to compete in all seven fall tournaments. “For me, I believe there was a noticeable distinction within the tournaments and identical to how a lot the course form of rolled out the crimson carpet for us and whatnot, , simply little stuff like courtesy vehicles or lodge room blocks or the meals. All the things simply form of felt like they have been most likely attempting to save lots of slightly bit of cash as a result of they’re not getting, , the turnout, they’re not getting the large names.”
He continued: “I really feel dangerous for lots of these tournaments like a Jackson (Mississippi, residence of the Sanderson Farms Championship) which have labored so laborious to change into an incredible occasion and, , now they’re gonna get zero of the highest guys coming to their occasion, ever. It’s simply powerful for me to see how these [$8 million] purses are going to remain excessive and, , these tournaments are going to wish to proceed to be massive occasions and there’s simply nobody coming there.”
“Now we have a number of nice occasions this time of 12 months and in the event that they wish to host a PGA Tour occasion they need to be allowed and the membership ought to assist it,” veteran professional Ryan Armour mentioned. “A variety of the highest guys have been searching for time without work and if that is what they need, they acquired it.”
“Extra guys would present up for Vegas, for Napa, it’s unlucky for the occasions, for the followers and no less than domestically, it form of sucks,” mentioned Doug Ghim.
“Vegas is without doubt one of the largest adjustments. Final 12 months I wouldn’t have gotten in and this 12 months I used to be in by 20 or one thing,” mentioned Kramer Hickok.
However Davis Love III, who has hosted the RSM Basic within the fall for the final 14 years, mentioned he’s seen a number of iterations of the autumn throughout his 30-plus-year profession that landed him within the World Golf Corridor of Fame, and expects the autumn portion of the schedule to proceed to evolve.
“It hasn’t regarded the identical in any five-year interval for a protracted, perhaps my complete profession,” Love mentioned final week. “Hopefully, it simply continues to enhance, they give you new concepts … I believe it’s simply going to proceed to enhance, however I don’t know what that’s.”
The Tour can solely hope that no matter it goals up subsequent will generate a group of tales and winners nearly as good as this 12 months.