Making waves on Maui

PGA Tour considers expansion of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions beyond its traditional winners-only format.

After years of discussions, the PGA Tour is considering expansion of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions beyond its traditional winners-only format.

The scenarios:

A two-year exemption to Tour winners.

Invite all Tour Championship qualifiers.

A five-year exemption to TOC past champions.

Since the TOC started in 1953 with 20 competitors, the event has been reserved – as its name would imply – for champions from the previous year. That’s a prerequisite that most competitors in last week’s TOC at Kapalua Resort would like to keep.

“It should stay the same,” Adam Scott said. “It would lose some of the gloss on the tournament. What should you call it then?”

Kevin Streelman, a member of the Player Advisory Council, notes that expansion from 30 to about 50 players likely would produce a deeper field. Two years ago, the PAC voted against the proposal.

“We like the field like it is,” said Steve Shannon, vice president of marketing for Hyundai Motors America. “As soon as you start to monkey with it a little bit it becomes something different.”

The three scenarios will be discussed at a PAC meeting before the Farmers Insurance Open later this month, but sources say the proposals likely won’t be met favorably.

Count Webb Simpson among the opponents of change.

“I thought it was called the Tournament of Champions,” he said, “not the Tournament of Runner-ups.”

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