BETHESDA, Md. — Back when the PGA Tour season ended during the first week of November at the Tour Championship, there was growing support for a shorter season. Turns out that shorter season is not to take a break from golf, but to chase more money.
There was the Kiwi Challenge that Hunter Mahan won in 2008. The Shanghai Masters was created last year. Tiger Woods went to Australia in 2009 and 2010, though he has a history of international travel from when he was a rookie. Phil Mickelson has a burgeoning golf course design business in Asia, and he is a two-time winner of the HSBC Champions in Shanghai.
According to two British newspapers, the latest edition is the Turkish Airways World Golf Finals in October, with a $5.3 million purse and the best players in the world. The Daily Mail and The Daily Telegraph report the field is to include Woods, Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Justin Rose, Charl Schwartzel, Webb Simpson and Mahan.
The winner would receive $1.5 million, with $1 million going to the runner-up.
The tournament is to be played Oct. 9-12, ending on a Friday so that it won’t steal attention from the weekend of the Portugal Masters on the European Tour and the Frys.com Open on the PGA Tour, the second event in the Fall Series.
One newspaper said Woods is working toward a deal with the Turkish airline.
None of the PGA Tour players involved was likely to be at the Frys.com Open, or in Las Vegas the week before. Woods made his Fall Series debut at the Frys.com Open last year, though he was still in conversation about a corporate deal at the time. Simpson lost in a playoff last year at the McGladrey Classic, which follows the Turkey event, though he was trying to win the money title.
For the PGA Tour, the shorter regular season was created by the FedEx Cup, which offers $35 million in prize money. And the structure allowed it to then have a wraparound season starting in 2013, with the Fall Series being treated the same as regular PGA Tour events.
One thing hasn’t changed. About the only break from golf is the week of Christmas.
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FAN VOTING: The PGA Tour signed up Avis as a sponsor of its player-of-the-month award, and decided this year to let the fans vote.
They have spoken for the month of June. Tiger Woods, who won the Memorial, received 51 percent of the vote to edge Webb Simpson, who won the U.S. Open. Also on the ballot was FedEx St. Jude Classic winner Dustin Johnson and Travelers Championship winner Marc Leishman.
There have been cases when a major champion didn’t win the award. Vijay Singh won in August 2008 over PGA champion Padraig Harrington, though the Fijian won a World Golf Championship and FedEx Cup playoff event that month.
Then again, it’s not just the fans.
Players voted Rickie Fowler the PGA Tour rookie of the year in 2010 even though he didn’t win a tournament and failed to reach the Tour Championship. He won over Rory McIlroy, who shot 62 to win at Quail Hollow and tied for third in two majors, tying a record with a 63 at St. Andrews.
Under the marketing deal, Avis made a $50,000 contribution to the Tiger Woods Foundation. This comes two days after Woods donated his $1.17 million check to the foundation from winning the AT&T National.