Nov
5
2010
PGA Tour Eligibility Changes for HSBC Champions: How Can an Event Count for an Official Win But Not Official Money?
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Tour

The Tour has revamped some details to the perks of PGA Tour members playing in the WGC-HSBC Champions tournament, which caught my eye because one provision contradicts another.

From PGATour.com’s Round 1 Notebook:

–For 2010 and going forward, the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in Shanghai will count as an official PGA TOUR victory and offer a three-year exemption on the PGA TOUR – provided it is won by a PGA TOUR member.

–The change is not retroactive, meaning that Phil Mickelson’s win in 2009 does not count toward his official victory total.

–If a non-PGA TOUR member wins the HSBC Champions, he would not receive a PGA TOUR exemption, but he would qualify for the SBS Championship Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

–Prize money from the $7 million purse does NOT, however, count toward the official PGA TOUR money list, even if a PGA TOUR member wins.

Money earned from the three other WGC events played in America count toward the official money list and an official PGA Tour win. Now I understand why the Tour would make it so that the China tournament doesn’t — it protects Tour members. Which of course, I support, but you can’t have it both ways, or can you?

The Tour wants to make the event a big deal and encourages the best to compete, but if the purse from the HSBC Champions were to count as official money, it could screw over the journeymen that can’t qualify for it. Or something like that. (Thing is, those same player aren’t in the other WGC fields, either.) But at the same time, it probably doesn’t want to punish players for choosing not to play in this prestigious tournament because the “official” event takes place after the “official” season.

Oh, and if you’re a non-PGA Tour member, what do you win? A trip to Hawaii, of course! — where you play four rounds and automatically earn money in the winners-only tournament. But wait, didn’t the other competitors also earn their card when they won an official Tour event?

My head hurts.