Why Do Top Players Skip Hyundai Tournament of Champions?

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Jessica Marksbury of GOLF.COM’s Tour Confidential gets together with Golf Magazine’s Alan Bastable and Cameron Morfit, as well as GOLF.COM’s Mike Walker, to hash out why Maui isn’t drawing the big name players.

Before I get into what this panel of great journalists had to say, it should be noted that just about every golf fan following this event seems to have an opinion about this. I was recently copying the list of qualifiers for this year’s event from the PGATOUR.COM website and noticed the rash of comments about the players who have and have not committed over the past few weeks. It made for some amusing reading, at 3am….

“Come on Justin Rose this “Limited Schedule” stuff could backfire….take away your one PGA tour win last year and you would have had a very mediocre year…you are young and should play these events,” was one sentiment.

Another chimed in: “It would make it a much more interesting tournament if they would invite the European Tour winners too.”

That comment was followed up by: “Or the PGA Tour winners of the last 2 seasons.”

Then a motion for more perks: “If they want to see every Winner play in this Tournament, they should give 750-1000 FedExCup-points.”

Mark Rolfing may be the most vocal of all. His appeal is for a more defined off-season so players can regroup and return refreshed, and fans too. His Facebook post in December 5, 2015 for all to see:

“Where is the OFF Season?

Back in 1999, the PGA Tour embarked on a bold new plan…beginning it’s season in January with back to back events in Hawaii…the Hyundai Tournament of Champions on Maui and the Sony Open in Hawaii on Oahu. But after a handful of years the quality of the two fields began to deteriorate. The PGA Tour tournament schedule crept deep into October and eventually the PGA Tour had a wrap-around season. 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 …the fans need a break to keep their interest level high and the athletes need to rest their bodies and rejuvenate their minds. If the governing bodies of golf don’t get together and create a break in the schedule, the players will make their own “off” season. Unfortunately for Hawaii, it looks like many of the top players will take their break in January.”

Marksbury, Bastable, Morfit, and Walker all touched on the common denominators: so much money out there it is easy to skip a week, seems like prestige isn’t there, maybe it should be mandatory, Maui is such a great place, etc., etc.

It’s a tightrope walk to say much, and I’d wager a lot of people really can’t or won’t say what they really think, which is just how it is in 2015.

But while the panelists wonder aloud what it may be, I can assure you that Mark Rolfing is more in tune with this event than anyone, and no matter what the powers that be may think or do, they won’t be able to match his Midas touch when it comes to Maui and the event so many are all so enamored about this week.

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