The Forecaddie: New pro-am format makes Tiger Woods happy

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The Forecaddie: New pro-am format makes Tiger Woods happy

Forecaddie

The Forecaddie: New pro-am format makes Tiger Woods happy

There was an extra pep in Tiger’s step over the last five holes of his Farmers Insurance Open pro-am round and The Man Out Front completely understands why.

Woods learned on the 14th tee of his pro-am round that it may be one of the last times the 42-year-old PGA Tour veteran will ever have to play 18 holes with three or four amateurs. He was informed of a policy change by the PGA Tour’s player liaison, Ross Berlin, who came out on the course to tell Woods that the Tour has officially implemented a rule starting next week allowing all Tour events to install a “nine and nine” format.

That means players will only have to play nine before handing their group off to another player, a format used successfully by the LPGA. The first official pro-am played under the new format will be at next week’s Waste Management Open.

According to PGA Tour Chief of Operations Tyler Dennis, the decision was made after assessments of the FedEx St. Jude Classic’s trial pro-am last year. The format was lauded by amateurs and players alike. Seven Tour events have committed to a nine and nine in 2018.

The list of positives is longer than, wait for it…a PGA Tour pro-am round.

Most obvious to all, amateurs get to know two players instead of one. And if someone paid a lot of money and doesn’t really care for the player they drew? Now you’re only stuck with him for nine holes.

Also, while The Forecaddie is sure that no PGA Tour member has ever been anything but a gentleman during a pro-am, a player should be in a much better mood for a shorter time window, especially the day before competition begins when they’d like to be saving some energy or making final tweaks. The format also means more players will get to practice on the tournament venue the day before and fans might get to see someone playing who did not make the pro-am field under the 18-hole format.

The Tour even found that the hand-off between players is a fun moment—as it is on the LPGA in The Forecaddie’s experience—with light banter and no awkwardness.

“If we tee off at 6:40 we’ll be done at nine,” Woods said while explaining the policy to caddie Joe LaCava who didn’t seem to actually believe the change had been made.

The move gets a big thumb’s up from The Man Out Front if it reinvigorates the pro-am concept, which has grown a bit stale and is an unnecessarily long day. Given how much charities benefit from pro-ams, the Tour needs to keep these important fundraising and schmoozing days relevant. And anything that makes a happier Big Cat more likely to turn up at a golf tournament is a win for golf.

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