Column: Farmers Insurance Open ‘won’t be awake’ over uncomfortable PGA Tour changes

No one can blame the PGA Tour stop San Diego Farmers Insurance Opens For ringing alarm bells internally amid reports that the PGA Tour is increasing wallet sizes at some tournaments and requiring elite players to play in those tournaments.

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

triggered by golf digest story The mere suggestion of spreading out the haves and have-nots week after week was jarring, explaining that the tournament directors of several events were enamored with the idea like potted lobsters.

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 gilded voice of Golden Bear Jack Nicklaus shared with The Associated Press, “This has almost doubled the PGA Tour. Suddenly other tournaments are the feeder.”

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.

“West Coast swings can’t have three in five weeks (the so-called ‘advanced’ required events), which would hamper players,” says Gorsich. “You can’t force players to play four or five weeks in a row.

“For example, how would the top 30 feel about being forced to participate in (rough) waste management (the Phoenix Open, one of the rising prize money events)? A lot of people love it. Despite this, it is not very suitable for some people.

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

There’s no question Farmers had his shoulder blocked by concussion protocol when the NFL rescheduled. Unique sweet spot For television and the national interest that accompanies the opening week before the Super Bowl.

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[of NFL carrier CBS],” said outgoing Farmers CEO Jeff Daly. told the Union Tribune in January. “After that, the cold head prevailed.”

Please do not make any mistakes. The expansion of the Tour, dubbed “promoted” events, means that a player’s participation leverage will increase and average prize money will increase for his $20 million tournament, which for some people presents a serious concern. (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? Absolutely,” Gorcic said. “Maybe they’re halfway between two events (the bigger event or the major) and marketing is up to the players. They don’t have the ocean. , I could see some trepidation about it.

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

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 now,” Gorsich said of the transition. “We had weekly calls with Farmers and[Daily]was getting updates here and there, but 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 promoted, we wouldn’t have come to work the next day and done something different,” Gorcic said. “I didn’t call a meeting. You get the same fields as normal. But no real operational change for us.”

After all, it’s not just another tournament.

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