Pros Playing Less- Why?

 SkiSchoolPro ·  
SkiSchoolProSkiSchoolPro Members  836WRX Points: 106Handicap: 4Posts: 836 Golden Tee
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I believe Tiger started the trend of top pros in their prime playing fewer tournaments. I attribute it to:
1. More non-golf work going into maximizing your golf game. I.e. gym work and other cross-training.
2. More Travel.
3. More sponsor and other commitments.
4. More $.

Thoughts?

On -, @canonlbp430 said:

I think part of it is the top guys don't play many events anymore. Of the top 20 guys in the Fed Ex there are only 4 that have played over 20 events currently (Charles Howell, Tony Finau, Chez Reavie). Most of the rest will end 21-22 starts after the playoffs. It seems like the top 5 or so used to max out a little over 20 starts but now you have almost all of the top 20-30 players planning on playing less than 23 times per year.
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  • ShilgyShilgy PhoenixMembers  12565WRX Points: 1,573Handicap: 3.2Posts: 12,565 Titanium Tees
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    See Jack

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  • Dave230Dave230 Members  3901WRX Points: 329Posts: 3,901 Titanium Tees
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    A lot of factors, but probably the biggest one is the way the world golf rankings work, it can hurt your average if you play in too many tournaments. Meanwhile, the prize money is so great now, why bother travelling every week when you can still earn 3-4 million anyway? And people will remember you more for good major performances, so there's no point burning yourself out the rest of the year.

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  • KRAMER1997KRAMER1997 Members  305WRX Points: 248Posts: 305 Greens
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    I think the schedule is the reason for this. With this new schedule, it seems like most of the players front-load there schedule leading up to the Masters, and then start playing less after April because all the Majors are only a month apart. Phil Mickelson for example played 8 tournaments going into the Masters (9 if you count the Safeway Open in October) and then has only played 8 tournaments since then. Same thing with Rory, the Masters was his 8th tournament of the year and since then he has only played 8 times. I think another reason why players have been doing this is because it's easier to travel from San Diego to Phoenix or Orlando to Pointe Vedra as opposed to from Cromwell CT to Detroit. In addition to this, with the Majors being so close together, certain tournaments have suffered this year.

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  • CwebbCwebb Members  6028WRX Points: 329Posts: 6,028 Titanium Tees
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    The new schedule has taken this trend further. Top Players used to play more between the Masters and U.S Open. Now they won't as much, because the PGA is sandwiched in between. They don't want to take a chance on burnout, when another major is within a couple weeks

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  • DFS PFDDFS PFD Members  1669WRX Points: 893Handicap: 1.8Posts: 1,669 Platinum Tees
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    They make very handsome living playing the minimum number of tournaments (talking major players).

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  • North ButteNorth Butte Members  11747WRX Points: 1,557Posts: 11,747 Titanium Tees
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    Nobody 10 years from now will care how many total events Brooks Koepka played in his career (or how many cuts he made or how many times he finished 2nd, etc.). They will remember him as the guy who won four majors in the blink of a eye.

    He's going to play exactly as often and in exactly the events that he reckons gives him the best chance to keep winning majors. Going out and play 40 weeks a year with frequent back-to-back-to-back tournaments in different parts of the country is not a strategy for long-term success once you're in the conversation for best player in the world.

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  • DavePelz4DavePelz4 A golf course in the Chicago area.ClubWRX  25409WRX Points: 2,565Handicap: 2 ManyPosts: 25,409 ClubWRX
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    You've got the Wyndham bonus now which is an extra $10M payout to the top 10. The FedEx bonus for first is now $15M. As of this moment, 105 PGA Tour players have on course earnings exceeding $1M. Add to that bonus money, endorsement/appearance fees and it's probably closer to $2M. How much do you really need to be happy? By having the extra time off, it theoretically helps you be more prepared for the events you do play through practice, physical fitness, mental fitness, etc.

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  • SkiSchoolProSkiSchoolPro Members  836WRX Points: 106Handicap: 4Posts: 836 Golden Tee
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    On -, @Dave230 said:

    A lot of factors, but probably the biggest one is the way the world golf rankings work, it can hurt your average if you play in too many tournaments...

    Not exactly true. Yes, it does hurt your ranking if you play extra events poorly as opposed to playing at least 20/year well, but the max divisor of 52 rewards players who have heavier schedules.

    The one idiosyncrasy with the OWGR is penalizing a player who played a lot of events almost 2 years ago (and rewarding players who have a heavier load more recently). Put another way, it helps a pros ranking short term to play a lot of events (assuming relatively average play) but this help reverses over time itself down the road UNLESS the oldest results get eliminated by having exceeded 52 events in the past 2 years.

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  • cardoustiecardoustie haha, we don't play for 5's Tasmania to CanadaMembers  13795WRX Points: 2,631Handicap: 0.9 >< 3.8Posts: 13,795 Titanium Tees
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    I don't think every pro is a Chucky 3 Sticks that just loves golf 24/7
    So much more $$$$$ available nowadays that limited schedules and sponsor dough still leaves the top guys high on the hog

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  • mocokidmocokid Members  2209WRX Points: 371Posts: 2,209 Platinum Tees
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    to preserve their bods. They are flat out hitting it 100% with today's ball and equipment. Just can't do it for 10-20 years like that without injury. yes and the prize money is so good today.

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  • buckeye440buckeye440 Members  399WRX Points: 318Posts: 399 Greens
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    The true answer is money. As somebody else pointed out, the top 100 have made a million this season which is not even over yet. Traveling is a ****, being away from family sucks. 6-7 figures after taxes and expenses is great. Additionally, players are able spend more time practicing from the comforts of their home instead of trying to re-tool things in a practice round right before the event.

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  • johnsegjohnseg Members  350WRX Points: 116Posts: 350 Greens
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    There is just so much money involved that the top guys don't need to be on the road every week. Look at Kuchar for an example. Nine tour wins and $50M in on course earnings. Not bad. Fowler has $38M and 5 wins. I know money isn't everything but it is why most do it. Not many guys are out there for legacy. It is to get paid.

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  • playar32playar32 Unregistered  305WRX Points: 119Posts: 305 Greens
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    I also think scheduling and the way tournament are layed out. As much as the tour tries to make tourneys where all the big names play together, that takes away from the other, second tier tournaments. If you're a top player, you basically have a set schedule, 4 majors + players, 4 WGC, 3-4 Fedex, handful of other top tier tournaments (Memorial, AP's tournament, TOC, maybe Torrey), couple for sponsors or favorite course, that's your schedule.

    Have to remember, some of these tournaments weren't around in the 60s and 70s; Canadian Open was a big tournament. Also, back in the days of Nicklaus and Palmer, they could probably show up without their best and win, these days the fields are deep, so its harder to win.

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  • daleheaddalehead Members  1918WRX Points: 608Posts: 1,918 Platinum Tees
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    On -, @playar32 said:

    I also think scheduling and the way tournament are layed out. As much as the tour tries to make tourneys where all the big names play together, that takes away from the other, second tier tournaments. If you're a top player, you basically have a set schedule, 4 majors + players, 4 WGC, 3-4 Fedex, handful of other top tier tournaments (Memorial, AP's tournament, TOC, maybe Torrey), couple for sponsors or favorite course, that's your schedule.

    Have to remember, some of these tournaments weren't around in the 60s and 70s; Canadian Open was a big tournament. Also, back in the days of Nicklaus and Palmer, they could probably show up without their best and win, these days the fields are deep, so its harder to win.

    That's 18-20 starts right there, in an eight month period from January through August. Then block out 2 weeks for a Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup for the top players. Add in a Euro tour or other international event and that's a pretty full schedule.

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  • OldboyOldboy Members  2513WRX Points: 248Posts: 2,513 Titanium Tees
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    Load management

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  • Hawkeye77Hawkeye77 IowaClubWRX  21479WRX Points: 5,447Posts: 21,479 ClubWRX
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    Big money and **** with the schedule.

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  • GoGoErkyGoGoErky Members  2750WRX Points: 956Posts: 2,750 Titanium Tees
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    I think this year more than others it’s the way the schedule was setup around the pga and players moving. Next year with the Olympics and RC it might be similar perception.

    Iirc they have to play 25 events if they don’t add an event they have played in before or in the last 3 or 4 years. If they add one then only 12 or 15 is required. The higher ranking guys are going to play a lot

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  • KRAMER1997KRAMER1997 Members  305WRX Points: 248Posts: 305 Greens
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    It's so that they don't burnout by the end of the year. Sungjae Im has played 31 events this year including 9 straight weeks from the Heritage to Colonial and he only had 2 top 20 finishes and four finishes outside the top 50. In 31 tournaments he has 6 top 10s and 9 MC's but sits at 25 in the FEC rankings because top 10s carry more weight than mixed cuts, but boy is he going to be tired at the end of August.

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  • rangersgoalierangersgoalie Members  1942WRX Points: 427Posts: 1,942 Platinum Tees
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    On -, @Shilgy said:

    See Jack

    Was going there too. Jack focused on specific big events and was part of the reason there was a minimum tournaments played rule.

    Either Trevino or Rodriquez was quoted with “jacks a legend in his spare time”

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  • chigolfer1chigolfer1 Members  1255WRX Points: 307Posts: 1,255 Platinum Tees
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    Because they can make boatloads of money with a lot less tourneys than the "old days" and playing less actually improves their performance when they do play. Golf "load management."

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  • Pent08Pent08 Members  1215WRX Points: 506Posts: 1,215 Platinum Tees
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    Like Rory said, golf becomes a job once you're a pro with endorsement obligations and such. I assume these guys do everything in their power to win once the tournament has started, but modern money gives them plenty of freedom to trim their "work" schedule.

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  • tideridertiderider Members  3002WRX Points: 2,030Handicap: 5ishPosts: 3,002 Titanium Tees
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    great question, op! ... why do people work less when there's more money? ...

    i have NO idea! ...

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  • RobertBaronRobertBaron Members  874WRX Points: 189Posts: 874 Golden Tee
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    Obviously money is the biggest factor. The top guys make so much now they don’t have to worry about their tour earnings anymore and can really focus so they peak at the biggest tournaments.

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  • lowheellowheel LOWHEEL Members  6784WRX Points: 1,885Posts: 6,784 Titanium Tees
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    On -, @Shilgy said:

    See Jack

    On -, @KRAMER1997 said:

    It's so that they don't burnout by the end of the year. Sungjae Im has played 31 events this year including 9 straight weeks from the Heritage to Colonial and he only had 2 top 20 finishes and four finishes outside the top 50. In 31 tournaments he has 6 top 10s and 9 MC's but sits at 25 in the FEC rankings because top 10s carry more weight than mixed cuts, but boy is he going to be tired at the end of August.

    Vijay Singh played 30 a year for like 10-12 years...

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  • ShilgyShilgy PhoenixMembers  12565WRX Points: 1,573Handicap: 3.2Posts: 12,565 Titanium Tees
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    On -, @lowheel said:

    On -, @Shilgy said:

    See Jack

    On -, @KRAMER1997 said:

    It's so that they don't burnout by the end of the year. Sungjae Im has played 31 events this year including 9 straight weeks from the Heritage to Colonial and he only had 2 top 20 finishes and four finishes outside the top 50. In 31 tournaments he has 6 top 10s and 9 MC's but sits at 25 in the FEC rankings because top 10s carry more weight than mixed cuts, but boy is he going to be tired at the end of August.

    Vijay Singh played 30 a year for like 10-12 years...

    One year he played 30 PGA Tour events. Probably over 30 with a few overseas events.

    But, Vijay was definitely an exception, and exceptional. Most top players play somewhat limited schedules. Say 20 events or so. They're not grinding to keep their cards and it's less about being satisfied with money earned than keeping fresh and having the best possible results when they do play.

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  • MattyO1984MattyO1984 Members  6084WRX Points: 1,540Handicap: 3Posts: 6,084 Titanium Tees
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    It’s all about the money!!

    If these guys were competing for $10,000 a week instead of $10,000,000 you’d find them out there playing an awful lot more.

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  • MoxleyMoxley Members  64WRX Points: 28Handicap: 14.1Posts: 64 Bunkers
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    Yeah agreed that it's the money - Els used to refer the wheelbarrow time for the period between the major seasons, but these days they don't need to bother filling up the wheelbarrow between seasons because they'll get so much from just playing a handful of key tournaments.

    One images now that most pros are playing the minimum they are obliged to (tour rules, card qualification, or OWGR min divisor) rather than for the money, which is now a given.

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