x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Warm homecoming for Australians getting cut short because of expanding PGA Tour

Many rank-and-file Aussies feel forced to sign up for a reinvented US line-up, or risk losing ground on the points and money lists for next season, writes Steve Elling.

Australia's Adam Scott, the world No 2, can afford to make the trip home once and a while but few of his countrymen have the luxury of playing more than once, if at all, in the three Australian majors. Scott Halleran / AFP
Australia's Adam Scott, the world No 2, can afford to make the trip home once and a while but few of his countrymen have the luxury of playing more than once, if at all, in the three Australian majors. Scott Halleran / AFP

Talent drain has been a familiar lament in golf this year, as top internationals have beaten a path to the PGA Tour like never before, leaving far too many European Tour events with no top-40 players in the field. But it could be worse.

The lucrative US tour’s move to a wraparound schedule – the 2013/14 season begins next week – has created delayed aftershocks, which have started to materialise exactly as some predicted.

Australians, for years, have represented the largest international contingent on the PGA Tour. Not surprisingly, many rank-and-file Aussies feel forced to sign up for a reinvented US line-up, or risk losing ground on the points and money lists for next season.

As a result, it has thinned the home-grown talent in Australia’s three key events, because outside of a few idle weeks around the holidays, there is no off-season.

“It’s a fine line week to week and it’s players’ careers at stake,” Ausstralian Adam Scott, the Masters champion, told the Australian Associated Press. “You can easily be off the tour and it would be unfair for these guys to jeopardise their careers for a couple of events at home. It’s too much to ask.”

Scott, the world No 2, can afford to make the trip. Few countrymen have the luxury of playing more than once, if at all, in the three Australian majors.

Events have struggled for years to find sponsors. The Australian Open, the fifth major in the Jack Nicklaus era, is fighting for relevancy. Or perhaps we should say fighting for currency, evermore the coin of the global golf realm.

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