‘Designated events’ unlikely to appear in ’11

Davis Love III

Davis Love III

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – “Designated events,” the proposal designed to bring star power to some of the PGA Tour’s weakest events, likely won’t be implemented next season, sources told Golfweek.

The future of the “designated events” policy will be decided at a PGA Tour Policy Board meeting Nov. 15-16. PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem has expressed support for making the proposal voluntary, according to sources.

“It’s been passed, but I think we’re going to backtrack on it,” Davis Love III, a Policy Board member, said when asked to respond by Golfweek. Mixed reviews from players and tournament officials led to the decision, Love said.

“Designated events” would’ve required the PGA Tour’s top players to play one or two of a handful of pre-determined tournaments that have struggled to attract stars in recent years.

The proposal likely will be voluntary next season, but it might be implemented in 2012 if players do not expand their schedule to support weaker events, sources told Golfweek.

The PGA Tour Policy Board approved the proposal at a July 26 meeting at The Greenbrier Classic. A policy change of this nature must be approved twice, though. The ratification was scheduled to take place at this upcoming Policy Board meeting.

“When everybody speaks their piece, it turns out, let’s not rock the boat,” Love said. “Let’s just ask guys to do it, and once they see the benefit, they’ll keep doing it.”

The Tour already asks players to voluntarily play in struggling events, Love said. The proposal would’ve included punishment for failure to comply. Now, the initiative will come without penalty.

Love, the host of the inaugural McGladrey Classic last month in Sea Island, Ga., said he would not want his event to be “designated’’ because of the resulting stigma.

“We wouldn’t want to be designated,” Love said. “ ‘Tiger played XYZ, but they made him’ That’s going to look bad, even though that’ll sell tickets.”

Another change likely to come out of the upcoming Policy Board meeting: the WGC-Match Play final likely will be reduced to 18 holes and played the same day as semifinals to avoid the lopsided 36-hole matches that make for bad TV.

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