ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. (AP) — The McGladrey Classic will be the fourth PGA Tour event next year to use multiple courses, and the first that is not in California.
It’s all about timing and opportunity.
The McGladrey Classic will be the last official event in 2015, taking the spot now held by Mexico. But once daylight saving time arrives at the end of October, it’s a scramble for even a 132-man field to finish.
The plan is to use the Seaside and Plantation courses at Sea Island Golf Club. Not only will using both courses allow the rounds to finish with plenty of daylight, the field can be expanded to 156 players at a time when Web.com Tour graduates are trying to get spots. Davis Love III, the tournament host, also expects a stronger field because it will not be the week before or after the Asian swing.
“Some guys like it, some guys don’t,” Love said of the multiple courses. “But if we get a better field — 10 guys better because it’s the last one of the year, and no conflicts going to Malaysia — then you lose 12 spots when you go down to 132 players. We want to play two (courses) so we can get as many guys in as we can.”
The one drawback could be the weather. It can get chilly the week before Thanksgiving, especially along the water.
The McGladrey has never had the same date in its five years. Love would like to go first, though that spot is held down by the Frys.com Open. If nothing else, it’s critical that it not be the same weekend as the Georgia-Florida game. St. Simons Island is the home base of Georgia fans the week of the game.
MONEY LIST: The PGA Tour was ready to base all its criteria on the FedEx Cup points after making it through the first wraparound season. That was until the four players on the PGA Tour policy board stepped in on behalf of the money list.
As a result, players can still keep their card by finishing in the top 125 money list this year — and maybe for following years.
One of the four player-directors — Paul Goydos — made one interesting distinction in his request. Instead of the board voting each year whether to keep the money list to determine who keeps their cards, the board would have to take action to remove it.
So far, it hasn’t made much of a difference.
Nicholas Thompson, Mike Weir, Jim Renner and Charlie Beljan kept their cards for the 2014-15 season by finishing in the top 125 on the money list. A year ago, four players who didn’t make the FedEx Cup playoffs also kept their cards.
CADDIE CAROUSEL: Chris Kirk will use three caddies in his next five tournaments, and that’s by design.
In an era when players tend to stick with one caddie until the relationship gets stale, Kirk likes to bounce around. Laddie Cline was with him at Sea Island and will be on the bag for the BMW Masters and HSBC Champions in Shanghai. G.W. Cable, who normally caddies for Heath Slocum, will work for Kirk at the Hero World Challenge and the Franklin Templeton Shootout in Florida.
Bill Harke, with whom Kirk won twice last year, will rejoin him at Kapalua.
“Harke is kind of my caddie now, but he takes breaks,” Kirk said. “That’s just how I like to do it. It keeps the conversation fresh, helps me relax and play well. It’s taken me years to get the formula just right.”
CINK’S COMPANY: Stewart Cink hasn’t won a tournament in more than five years dating to his British Open title at Turnberry. But he hasn’t lost perspective on a game that takes far more than it gives.
“You know what you can do,” he said. “And when you’re continually not doing it, it’s easy to get down on yourself. But you’ve got to realize you’re not the only one who has a rough day or a rough hole. A lot of times you can feel like an island out there.”
That led to a query — is it better to spend time around those who are struggling or those who are succeeding.
“It’s dangerously easy to hang out with the strugglers,” he said. “You want to commiserate, but it’s easy to spiral. There are plenty of guys out here who will tell you about struggles. You want names? Everybody who’s ever started in a PGA Tour event.”
Cink has gone 30 straight events since his last top 10 — the AT&T National in 2013 — though he doesn’t lack of motivation. And while he finished just outside the top 30 in his two starts this year, he is seeing enough good signs. He opened with a 64 in Las Vegas and shot a 63 in the third round at Sea Island.
“When you see good scores come out early in the season, it leads to a confident attitude,” he said. “You come out with a different set of goals. And I’ve always felt if you’re making a lot of birdies, it’s easier to iron out mistakes than to try to make birdies out of nothing.”
MILLER & SON: Johnny Miller is stepping out of the broadcast booth and onto the golf course.
Miller and his son Andy, who missed the cut in the Frys.com Open earlier this month, will play in the PNC Father-Son Challenge on Dec. 12-14 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Orlando, Florida. It will be the first time since 2006 that Miller played in the event.
Andy Miller played one year on the PGA Tour before going off on a mission.
“We will play hard,” the two-time major champion said. “But this will be more to have an enjoyable, relaxing weekend. He is going to have to do most of the work off the tee. I still hit my irons pretty good and I’m putting better. The bottom line is it will be a good time to be with Andy and spend some days with him. It will be a lot of fun.”
DIVOTS: One Las Vegas bookmaker listed Rory McIlroy as the 5-1 favorite to win the Masters, followed by Tiger Woods (12-1) and Adam Scott (15-1). Defending champion Bubba Watson is in the group at 20-1 with Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and Rickie Fowler. … The European Tour has another tournament in China. The Shenzhen International will be April 16-19, the week after the Masters, at Genzon Golf Club. … Bob Ford, the head pro at Oakmont and Seminole, will start hosting a monthly radio show in January on SiriusXM PGA Tour radio that concentrates on competitive amateurs.
STAT OF THE WEEK: Zach Johnson is the only player from the top 25 in the world ranking who has not competed outside the United States in the past five years except for the British Open.
FINAL WORD: “When your short game is no good, then you can’t get it up-and-down. So you can’t shoot 70 or 71 on those halfway days and stay in the golf tournament.” — Will MacKenzie.
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