A Season Only Seems Long When It Never Ends
The idea that the PGA Tour calendar is too full depends on how you look at the calendar.
In this new world of the wraparound season, it seems as though golf never ends. There was a three-week break between the end of one season (Tour Championship) and the start of another (Frys.com Open). And then the PGA Tour takes a seven-week break before resuming the new season in Kapalua.
But is that much different from 10 years ago?
The PGA Tour had 44 consecutive weeks of golf in 2004 from Jan. 8 at Kapalua until Nov. 7 at the Tour Championship. That schedule included three tournaments held the same week as World Golf Championships, the B.C. Open opposite the British Open and the Texas Open the same week as the Ryder Cup.
The tour had 43 weeks of golf in 2014, with the three-week break built around the Ryder Cup in the early fall and the final tournament Nov. 16 in Mexico. And there were only three opposite-field events the same week as three WGCs (Doral, Firestone, Shanghai).
Is the new ''fall start'' any different from the old ''fall finish?'' Now it starts in California and goes to Las Vegas, Sea Island, two in Asia, one in Mississippi and Mexico. Ten years ago, the lineup after the majors included Hartford, Canada, Tampa and now-defunct tournaments at Disney and 84 Lumber. There also was a WGC thrown in the mix.
Go back even further. Twenty years ago, the PGA Tour schedule featured 43 consecutive weeks of tournaments. That was right about the time the WGCs were being discussed, and a decade before the FedEx Cup was even an idea.
The biggest change might be the golf that isn't being played.
Back in 1994 when the Tour Championship ended (at Olympic Club - those were the days) on Oct. 30, there were six tournaments as part of the silly season. That included the Lincoln-Mercury at Kapalua, the Shark Shootout, Skins Game, JC Penney Mixed-Team Classic and the Diners Club Matches.
Either way, there was never a shortage of golf. That much hasn't changed.
HAWAII FIVE-O: A friendship in Hawaii has led to Michelle Wie making her first cameo on a television series.
Wie met actor Daniel Dae Kim through mutual friends in Hawaii - Wie was born and raised in Honolulu, while Kim has been living in paradise with his wife and children toward the latter years of his role in the miniseries ''Lost.''
Kim played in Wie's charity Ping-Pong event after she won an LPGA Tour event in Hawaii this year. He was working on a movie in Atlanta in June when he drove over to Pinehurst No. 2 to watch Wie win her first major at the U.S. Women's Open.
That led to Wie getting a small part in an episode of ''Hawaii 5-0,'' on which Kim plays Chin Ho Kelly. Wie shot the episode this weekend while in Hawaii. Still unknown is her role, although agent Jamie Kuhn says Wie is playing herself.
Wie took an Instagram sitting in a director's chair, flashing the ''hang loose'' sign and adding, ''Officially an actress now'' with three emoticons crying with laughter.
MASTERS BID ON THE LINE: The Dubai Open on the Asian Tour is the final golf tournament of 2014, and more than a trophy is riding on the outcome.
It likely will determine who gets into the Masters.
Danny Willett of England has made a late surge with his tie for fourth in Turkey, his victory in the Nedbank Challenge and a tie for fourth last week in the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa. He is No. 51 in the world, though he will go to No. 50 ahead of Kevin Streelman in the final ranking of the year.
Tommy Fleetwood has eight top-15 finishes in his last 13 events, including a fourth-place finish in Thailand. He is at No. 52.
Fleetwood is playing the Dubai Open, and he could pass Willett for the 50th spot in the world ranking depending on how he fares.
The top 50 in the final world ranking of the year get invitations to the Masters. Streelman will fall out of the top 50, though he already has earned a spot at Augusta National next year with his victory at the Travelers Championship.
RICKIE IN THE UAE: Rickie Fowler is starting 2015 with back-to-back weeks in the desert - but in two parts of the world.
Fowler is the latest American to sign up for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship on Jan. 15-18. After taking the following week off, he will make his U.S. debut in the Phoenix Open before what amounts to a home game at Torrey Pines.
''I'm looking forward to it,'' Fowler said. ''I've never been there. I've heard good things. The world ranking points are good. And I look at it as an opportunity to see other places. This is one of those times to do it.''
Tiger Woods played in Abu Dhabi in 2012 and 2013, while Phil Mickelson was a runner-up at Abu Dhabi in 2014.
ANNIKA DESIGN: Annika Sorenstam's golf project hits close to home. Annika Course Design has been hired to build a seaside course 20 minutes outside the capital of Estonia, a project geared around a family leisure resort and spa.
Sorenstam, a 10-time major champion from Sweden, will be working with European Golf Design on the ''Annika Course'' at Estonian Golf & Country Club. It is to open in 2019 along with 50 of the planned 150 rooms at the resort.
This will be her fifth golf course design overseas, and her first in Europe.
''It's exciting to be designing my first golf course in Europe, especially one that is close to home,'' Sorenstam said. ''The golf industry has been talking a lot about the need to develop golf facilities that are more flexible and family friendly, and Estonian Golf & Country Club is actually making it happen.''
The course will replace the club's existing nine-hole course and complement the Sea Course, a qualifying site for the 2011 World Cup.
DIVOTS: The Hyundai Tournament of Champions at Kapalua is sharing the good fortune for an ace. If a player makes a hole-in-one on the par-3 eighth hole during the tournament, the player gets a 2015 Hyundai Genesis 5.0 and his caddie will receive a 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport. The bad news? Lucas Glover in 2006 is the only player to make an ace on No. 8 during competition. ... A scholarship has been created to honor Ron Balicki, the former Golfweek magazine writer who died in April of cancer. The Ron Balicki Scholarship will be given each year at the NCAA Championship to honor and encourage journalism and writing students with an interest in writing about college and amateur golf. ... Padraig Harrington has received an exemption to the Phoenix Open.
STAT OF THE WEEK: Brendon de Jonge has played 72 tournaments worldwide the last two years, the most of anyone in the top 100 in the world ranking.
FINAL WORD: ''I can't remember the golf course because I was only 9 years old. The only thing about the golf course that I remember is that I got blown over on one of the tee boxes and Dad had to pick me up.'' - Charley Hull, who won a Ladies Golf Union championship at Turnberry in 2005. The links course will host the Ricoh Women's British Open next year.