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PGA Tour relaunch will impact other tours

A revamped U.S. PGA Tour calendar outlined on Wednesday could result in a further drain on the European and Asian Tours as more of the world's top players focus attention on a proposed big money FedEx Cup.

Starting in 2007 the PGA Tour calendar will centre around the Cup, a points-based competition that will lead into a late summer playoff and culminate with the Tour Championship in September that could see the winner walk away with $10 million.

From January to August players will earn points at every tournament to provide the seeding basis for a playoff built around three blockbuster events followed by the Tour Championship.

"I think that it's going to bring us (top players) a bit more together throughout those first probably eight months of the year," said Spain's Sergio Garcia. "Certain months of the year you're going to see a lot more of us than you usually see.

"Scheduling for top players like we are will definitely be a bit different than it is now. We'll be playing a lot more here in the U.S. and I think that's always great."

Under pressure from advertisers to bolster faltering late season television ratings and from players for a more compact schedule, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem revealed his blueprint for the future during his 'State of Tour' address.

It was delivered on the eve of this year's season finale which begins on Thursday at the East Lake Golf Club.

While the new format could monopolise the top players in the meaty part of the calendar, the shorter defined season could also open the door for a return to the European and Asian circuits later in the year.

Australia's Adam Scott believes it will be possible to keep his European and U.S. PGA Tour cards with thoughtful planning.

Asked how it would affect him he said: "It's tough to say because I haven't seen the schedule yet. But I don't think it will have an effect on being able to play both tours.

"As long as majors and world golf events still count for both I think it's not too hard to get up 11 events in Europe.

"I'm sure the Tour and everyone will take that into consideration when making the schedule because they want players like Sergio, who's European, to be...over here as well and not making decisions on whether to play the PGA Tour or in Europe.

"It's a little more compact, intense season with the FedEx Cup. And it gives players the opportunity at the end of the year to take some time off, for myself and the international players to go back to Australia and play events without having to be dragged into December and playing at Christmas time."

November 3, 2005

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