2006: PGA irked by packed '08 schedule

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Medinah, Ill.

The Ryder Cup is the latest victim of the new FedEx Cup system introduced by the PGA Tour earlier this year.

The affront to one of golf’s oldest competitions came when the Tour found itself boxed in a corner trying to fit the FedEx Cup series into the 2008 schedule and positioned the Tour Championship the week before the Ryder Cup.

On the surface it does not seem to be such an egregious decision, but players will be faced with the following schedule: WGC-Bridgestone Championship, PGA Championship, Carolina Classic at Greensboro, Barclays Classic, Deutsche Bank Championship, BMW Championship and the Tour Championship. Most, if not all, the players in the hunt for the 2008 U.S. Ryder Cup team will play in six of those seven events, skipping Greensboro and then having to participate in the Ryder Cup. The Ryder Cup is Sept. 19-21 at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky.

“That shows you a prime example of the ignorance and lack of consideration,” potential Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger said of the decision. “They’re (PGA Tour) not taking the players into consideration at all.”

The PGA of America also was miffed by the decision, which could possibly bring exhausted players to its marquee event.

“We’ve made it clear to the PGA Tour we are not happy with the scheduling for 2008,” said Joe Steranka, CEO of the PGA of America. “That we were not able to achieve a one-week gap between their big Tour Championship and the Ryder Cup, which we don’t think is good.”

Tour spokesman Bob Combs agreed with Steranka that a one-week gap between the Tour Championship and the Ryder Cup/ Presidents Cup is preferred, but in 2008 only, the week could not be found because of TV conflicts.

NBC, which will broadcast three of the four FedEx Cup Championship Series events and the Ryder Cup, came to the recent Tour television negotiations with much of its future fall programming already in place.

It includes Notre Dame football on the two Saturdays prior to the 2008 Ryder Cup and will force an early Saturday finish of the BMW and Tour Championships. NBC’s telecast of the final weekend of the Summer Olympics also conflicts with the Barclays.

“The Ryder Cup is one of my favorite events, if not my favorite event,” Jim Furyk (pictured) said. “I don’t have an issue playing six out of seven weeks to be honest with you. But to throw the Ryder Cup in behind that is pretty difficult.”

Which begs the question: Will players potentially skip FedEx Cup Championship Series events to be fresh for the Ryder Cup?

With $40 million at stake, it’s not likely.

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