The 2013-14 PGA TOUR season gets underway this week with the Frys.com Open. This is the first season that will start shortly after the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, and not after the New Year. Here’s 10 things you need to know about this inaugural wraparound schedule:
1. There will be 45 PGA TOUR events this season, with all offering FedExCup points. The season begins this week and will conclude with the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, the final event of the FedExCup Playoffs, on Sept. 11-14, 2014. This is the first season that the PGA TOUR’s fall events will offer FedExCup points.
2. Players’ pursuit of playing privileges used to be the main storyline of the fall season. Because the fall events were held after the FedExCup season had concluded, the focus mainly fell on players who were trying to finish among the top 125 on the money list and keep their TOUR card for the next season. Now the latter half of the calendar commences the chase for the FedExCup.
3. Six events of the 2013-14 season will be played this year, starting with the Frys.com Open in Northern California. The events will be held in six consecutive weeks in four different countries. The Frys.com Open will be followed by the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas (Oct. 17-20); the CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Oct. 24-27); the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, China (Oct. 31-Nov. 3); The McGladrey Classic at Sea Island, Ga. (November 7-10); and the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in Mexico (Nov. 14-17).
4. The season will break for approximately 1½ months, resuming with the Hyundai Tournament of Champions on Dec. 30-Jan. 6 in Kapalua, Hawaii. Several unofficial tournaments are held during the break, including the biennial World Cup of Golf at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia (Nov. 21-24).
5. Winners of each of the six PGA TOUR events this year that start the 2013-14 season will earn Masters invitations. The winners of the fall events did not get Masters invitations when the events did not offer FedExCup points.
6. The two fall events in Asia are official tournaments for the first time. The CIMB Classic was an unofficial event in its first three years. Ben Crane won the inaugural tournament in 2010, followed by Bo Van Pelt and Nick Watney. The CIMB Classic will be the first official FedExCup event held in Asia. The HSBC Champions became a World Golf Championship in 2009. Since 2011, a victory was considered official if the winner was a PGA TOUR member. The event did not offer FedExCup points until this year, and the money did not count toward the PGA TOUR money list, though. Now the WGC-HSBC Champions will offer the same FedexCup points (550 to the winner) as the other WGC events, while the CIMB winner will receive the standard 500 FedExCup points. Ian Poulter is the defending HSBC champion.
7. The OHL Classic at Mayakoba also will offer full FedExCup points for the first time. The tournament used to be held the same week as the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship. The OHL Classic was not held during the 2013 PGA TOUR season, though, because of its move to the fall. John Huh, who won the event in 2012 en route to being the PGA TOUR’s Rookie of the Year, is the defending champion.
8. The Sanderson Farms Championship in Madison, Miss., will not be contested in 2013-2014 as it moves from July to the front end of the 2014-2015 schedule, opposite the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions. With the move, the TOUR no longer will have a tournament the same week as The Open Championship.
9. Golf Channel will televise all four rounds of all six fall PGA TOUR events, and the World Cup of Golf.
10. The World Cup of Golf, which will be held Nov. 18-24 at historic Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia, will feature a new format in 2013. The event will be primarily an individual event with a team component. The 60-player field will be selected based on the Official World Golf Ranking, with up to two players per country allowed to qualify (four per country if they are within the top 15 of the OWGR). The format will return to 72 holes of stroke play, with the individuals competing for $7 million of the $8 million total purse. OWGR points will be awarded for the first time. The top two-ranked players from each country will compete for the team portion, using combined stroke play scores. The individual portion is similar to what will be used at the 2016 Summer Olympics, except that England, Scotland, and Wales will have teams instead of a single Great Britain team in the Olympics.