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Golf Australia Express : OTG Express 167
FIRST up, a question: who won the Frys.com Open in 2015? The answer, of course, is no one ... yet. Unless, of course, you subscribe to the theory that 2015 started this time last year and this week is in fact the first of 2016. Get it? No, of course you don’t. Only the hardest of hard-core golf fans are paying attention at this time of year, but it’s true. The 2015/2016 season on the US PGA Tour starts this week at the Frys.com Open as golf’s version of “The Never Ending Story” renews for the first of 47 tournaments, seven of which fall this side of Christmas. This is the third year of the “wraparound” schedule and for the ardent and fanatical it means the steady diet of golf rolls on at a time when we were used to seeing the focus shift to our side of the equator. Instead, America starts up again as if there were no prior conclusion to the previous season. It’s a bit like eating lunch straight after you’ve finished breakfast. Personally, I am one of the hard-core set. While my care-meter is unlikely to spike in the next month or so, I’d still rather have the option of following a tournament than nothing. Heck, I wouldn’t baulk at 52 weeks of action. The fields might be a little sparser for star players but that opens the door for some of the up-and-comers to, well, up and come. For instance, who knew who Robert Streb was this time last year? Where it gets murky, however, is the impact on the non-American circuits, ours in particular. The PGA Tour of Australasia sees its few big events pushed deeper into the calendar in a fight for rungs on the global tournament ladder. An event like the Perth International will skip 2015 completely and move to February from next year. And rumours persist that our other big events will eventually do the same. They contemplate doing so because October and November is no longer the time to be recruiting players who would prefer to earn more money and shore up their playing rights on a more lucrative stage. You can’t blame them for that. In an ongoing quest for survival, the Australian Open, PGA and Masters will always find their place – and February could end up being a better spot for them long-term, in which case without realising it the US Tour is doing ours a favour. Although for golf fans, it’s more a case of which ‘meal’ we’d prefer to eat and when. Oh, and your defending champion at the Frys.com Open is Sang-Moon Bae, who instead of fighting for his trophy in California will be fighting for his country as he begins a two-year mandatory military service. No, it’s not punishment for losing his Presidents Cup singles match to Bill Haas, rather it’s the fulfilment of a decree set down by the South Korean government. But I bet he’ll still be watching. OTG the VIEW GOING AROUND AGAIN GOLF’S NEVER-ENDING CIRCUIT RESTARTS THIS WEEK – BUT AT WHAT COST? (AND, DO WE REALLY CARE?) by Steve Keipert Golf Australia deputy editor Awarded #1 Overall Winner in the ‘2015 MyGolfSpy Most Wanted Driver Awards’ # 1 MOST WANTED DRIVER 2015 LEARN MORE
OTG Express 166
OTG Express 168