Where has the time gone? We are not even over the drama of the Ryder Cup and the new year begins again next week. Technically, it’s not a new year because it’s only October, it’s a new season. This was actually very clever on the Tour’s part to call a “year” a “season” so the juggernaut can crank up again.
So what will begin as the 2014-2105 season will morph into the 2015 year pretty much after the early part of the calendar year. You go to a player’s stat page to see how he’s doing and the year tab will say 2015.
There were two compelling reasons to do this. First of all, the tournaments that were played in the fall were not getting their due as tournaments without a distinction from those played before The Playoffs (including the Tour Championship and FedExCup). Winners were awarded significantly scaled back FedExCup points and many players just shut down for the rest of the year. So the result was low purses, low points and basically players on the brink of possibly losing their cards fighting to the death (metaphorically, of course).
Secondly, with full purses and points, all the players on the Tour at least need to take a look at playing in the Fall just to keep up with the pack. Jimmy Walker’s great 2014 was possible because he won the first tournament of the season, the Frys.com Open. As his first career win, that opened the jar for the Sony Open win in Honolulu, the first full-field event of the calendar year, and just two weeks later, the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
So by the time the iconoclasts who don’t like playing the West Coast Swing and wait for Florida to show up arrived on the scene, Jimmy Walker had three wins, a boatload full of cash and enough FedExCup points to make him King of the Mountain all the way into The Playoffs and onto the Ryder Cup.
Nevertheless…it still comes as a shock that the new season begins in what feels like tomorrow.
On the other hand, with the Frys.com being moved from CorteValle just south of San Jose, California, to Silverado up in Napa, those players who had the misfortune of “resting and working on their games,” during The Playoffs will be hungry and inspired by what Walker did last year. It should be a good field.
Here are the first-round dates of the opening tournaments of the 2014-2015 season:
Oct. 9 – Frys.com Open – Silverado CC, Napa, California
Oct.16 – Shriners Hospitals for Children Open – TPC Summerlin, Las Vegas, Nevada
Oct. 23 – The McGladrey Classic – Seaside Course, Sea Island, Georgia
Oct. 30 – CIMB Classic – Kuala Lumpur Golf & CC, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Nov. 6 – World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions – Sheshan International GC, Shanghai, China
Nov. 13 – OHL Classic at Mayakoba – El Camaleon, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Tiger Wood’s Hero World Challenge, an invitational, is moving from its long-time home at Sherwood CC in Thousand Oaks, California, to his old home course, Isleworth in Orlando, Florida on December 4th.
And Greg Norman’s long-lived Franklin Templeton Shootout, another invitational, will once again be at Tiburon GC in Naples, Florida, on December 11th.
Then there’s the three-week Christmas break that leads into the Hyundai Tournament of Champions on the Plantation Course in Maui, Hawaii the second week of January, the “old” start of the year.
It will be interesting to see what kind of player attendance this year will attract, especially after Jimmy Walker’s blowout last year.