By Mark Rolfing:
Back in 1999, the PGA Tour embarked on a bold new plan…beginning it’s season with back to back events in Hawaii…the Hyundai Tournament of Champions on Maui and the Sony Open in Hawaii on Oahu. The plan proved to be an instant success, with the early years seeing stellar fields of the world’s top players beginning at Kapalua, and many staying in the Islands for the second week at Waialae C.C. But after a handful of years, things began to change and slowly the quality of the two fields began to deteriorate. The PGA Tour tournament schedule crept deep into October with the advent of the FedEx Cup and eventually the PGA Tour wrap-around season, Given the proliferation of major international events in November and December, all of a sudden, professional men’s golf had become a year round proposition.
Professional golf at the highest level needs an off-season…just like the NFL…or the NBA …or any of the major sports. The athletes need to rest their bodies and rejuvenate their minds. The fans need a break to keep their interest level at its peak. If the governing bodies of golf don’t get together and create a break in the schedule of some kind, the players will make their own “off ” season. Unfortunately for Hawaii, it’s starting to look more and more like many of the top players will take their break in January.