PGA Tour Returns – Here’s What to Know
After a short break, the PGA Tour is back in action this week with the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.
To make things even more exciting, we are less than 100 days from the Masters, but who is counting.
Anyway, with he Tour set to get underway, here are a handful of storylines to keep an eye on this year.
What You Need to Know
PGA Tour vs Greg Norman’s Saudi Tour
The major storyline off the course for the PGA Tour is the ongoing battle with Greg Norman’s Saudi-backed tour that is trying to get off the ground.
Most recently, the PGA Tour announced that they will allow players to go and play the Saudi International in February.
However, there are conditions.
Players who play in the Saudi event will be required to add the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am to their schedule in future years.
It will be interesting to see how this battle plays out over the course of the season, and interesting to hear what the two-dozen players playing in the Saudi International have to say about the situation.
ESPN”s Bob Harig summed the situation up perfectly on the Golf Dudes Podcast back in November.
World #1 Watch
It is the first tournament of the season and there is already a battle for world number one on the line.
John Rahm needs a victory or a solo second finish to remain world number one.
If he doesn’t do that, it will open the door for Collin Morikawa to take over the coveted spot.
If Rahm doesn’t win or finish solo second, Morikawa will become world number one with a victory himself or a top three finish.
That top three finish includes a tie for second and a three way tie for second, as well as, a solo 3rd finish.
The question will continue to be asked on almost a weekly basis, it has already been asked several times.
When will we see Tiger Woods return to the PGA Tour?
Last we saw Tiger was at the PNC Championship playing with his son Charlie where they finished second behind team Daly.
Following the round, Tiger insisted that it is going to be awhile before we see him back out there competing as he just doesn’t have the endurance.
Recently, Woods was spotted in Los Angeles, presumably going to visit his doctor to get an update on the progress his leg is making, at least that is what has been reported.
Predictions are still heavy that he will play in The Masters. Perhaps even sneak a tournament in the week or two before.
New Equipment Rules
The governing bodies of golf, the USGA and R&A, have ruled that professional golfers are not to have a driver length of more than 46 inches.
“We’ve worked closely with our industry partners to ensure the future for golf remains strong. Admittedly, this is not the ‘answer’ to the overall distance debate/issue, but rather a simple option for competitive events. It’s important to note that it is not a ‘Rule of Golf,’ and as such, it is not mandated for the average, recreational golfer. Rather, this is an available tool for those running competitive events,” said Mike Whan, CEO of the USGA.
This rule does not going to impact recreational golfers.
According to Golf Channel, about 3% of pros use a driver longer than 46 inches.
One of those players is Phil Mickelson.
“Stupid is as stupid does.”Mrs Gump. Really though, are the amateurs trying their best to govern the professional game the stupid ones? Or the professionals for letting them?” Tweeted Phil Mickelson.
FedEx Cup Leader
Typically, it does not end mattering much by the time the playoffs come around, but the current FedEx Cup leader is Talor Gooch.
So far in the fall portion of the season, Gooch has played six times and finished tied for 11th in every start except one.
That includes his first PGA TOUR win at The RSM Classic, the final official event of 2021. Gooch had six rounds of 64 or better in the fall; no one else had more than three.
Where to Find Golf
One thing fans may have missed is that a large portion of the golf coverage is moving.
As GolfNewsRI reported, PGA Tour LIVE is now on ESPN +
According to the Tour’s press release, this new partnership will add more than 3,200 new hours of live streaming for a total of 4,300 exclusive hours.
In 2022, PGA TOUR LIVE on ESPN+ will include live coverage of 35 tournaments – from the TOUR’s Hawaii events in January all the way through the FedExCup Playoffs and into the fall – with at least 28 events having four full days of coverage and four simultaneous live feeds each day.
The PGA Tour signed a nine-year deal with ESPN+ back in March of 2020.