Bryce Miller: Farmers Insurance Open ‘not losing sleep’ over uncomfortable PGA Tour changes

SAN DIEGO — PGA TOUR stops like San Diego’s Farmers Insurance Open are raising internal alarms amid reports that some tournaments are increasing prize money and requiring elite players to play in those tournaments No one can be blamed for ringing the

Farmers aren’t panicking, though. Anyway, not yet.

In the wake of a Golf Digest article describing how some event’s tournament directors were as hot as potted lobsters on the idea, the mere suggestion of spreading out the haves and have-nots on a weekly basis has become jarring. I was.

What does that mean for us? How many of our past top golfers won’t be part of our future? Is this the first step in removing events from the schedule?

As The Golden Bear Jack Nicklaus’ gilded voice shared with The Associated Press, “It’s almost doubled the PGA Tour.Suddenly, other tournaments are feeders.”

Places like Torrey Pines and tournaments like Farmers have plenty of confidence as the Tour puts money into countering the threat of LIV Golf’s withdrawal. It’s not just a competition.

Casting Tory and Farmers as simple faces in a crowd waving a stick is like describing Del Mar as just a racetrack or the San Diego Zoo as a run-of-the-mill animal park.

Some are special. Some represent more.

With breathtaking cliffside views and gliders soaring above the Pacific blue, Farmers is the destination. Torrey Pines South is a U.S. Open-class course and top golfers shake off cobwebs, so early-season testing was sorely needed.

A favorite of hometown star Xander Schauffele, pseudo-Saint Diegan, and top ten talent Jon Rahm, it claims the historical roots that connect Palmer to Player, Nicklaus to Tiger.

Marty Gorcich, Tournament Director and CEO of Century Club of San Diego, which hosts the tournament, said: “There was never a meeting to address this.”

Player decision-making is still the biggest question mark.

“The West Coast swing doesn’t allow you to do three events in five weeks (the so-called ‘advanced’ required events), which hinders players,” Gorsich says. “You can’t force players to play four or five weeks in a row. If you build up too much, it becomes really difficult.”

“For example, how would the Top 30 feel about being forced to participate in the (rowdy) Waste Management (Phoenix Open, one of the rising prize money events)? Hmm, I love it.

“That’s why I think the tool remains flexible.”

There’s no doubt the Farmers got their shoulders blocked by concussion protocols when the NFL rescheduled.

The event has chosen an unusual format, Wednesday through Saturday. Spin Doctor can talk about the merits of its uniqueness and how enthusiastic players are about this change, but no one is willing to go in that direction – at least not at first.

If something isn’t broken, it’s your responsibility to “fix” it.

“My first ‘upset’ reaction was to go to NBC[from my NFL career, CBS],” Jeff Daly, who is retiring as CEO of Farmers, told the Union-Tribune in January. After that, the cold head prevailed.”

Please do not make any mistakes. The expansion of the tour, dubbed ‘promotion’ events, means that a player’s participation leverage will increase and more tournaments with an average winnings approaching his $20 million mark a serious concern for some. . (The farmer’s purse was $8.4 million last year and is expected to raise $300,000 in 2023.)

Torrey Pines doesn’t seem to need wrinkle cream.

“Do you have any concerns about some events? Of course,” Gorsich said. “Maybe they’re between the two (bigger events or majors) and marketing depends on the players. They don’t have the ocean. They don’t have attractive golf courses. Some events , yeah, I could see some… anxiety about it.

“If we generally have the same field, I don’t see anyone saying, ‘Oh, I’m not going now,’ even though one or two players aren’t there. We are Experience. ”

Gorsich noted that hospitality sales have skyrocketed, with some areas selling out eight to nine months in advance.

“After two years of being affected by COVID, we are probably in just as good a position organizationally, with[former CEO]Peter[Ripa]leaving and the tent vendor going bankrupt the year before.” He said, “This is the first time we’ve had a clean runway in a long time.

“We’ll see how it goes in a year, but now we’re cooking on gas.”

The biggest question mark for Farmers is the change in leadership of the sponsoring organization. It is unclear how the company will feel about evolving tour changes, newly adopted schedule formats, and future changes in the business environment.

Daly will officially retire on January 1st. Raul Vargas takes over as new President and CEO. The four-day tournament begins his January 25th.

“The new CEO must be drinking water from a fire hose right now,” Gorsich said of the transition. Although he had obtained it, he was generally focused on running the business.

“I think (Vargas) will have his first briefing (on the tournament) in a week or two.”

The bottom line: At this point, Farmers button-pressers appear to be less sleep-deprived than almost everyone else.

“If we had been upgraded, we wouldn’t have gone to work the next day and done something different,” Gorsic said. “I didn’t call a meeting. We were able to get the same fields as normal, but no real operational changes that come to mind for us.”

After all, it’s not just another tournament.

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