PGA Tour Confidential: PGA Tour opposes anchored putting ban; Matt Kuchar wins Accenture Match Play

Tim Finchem, Matt Kuchar
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Among the highlights of the upcoming Florida Swing: Arnold Palmer as tournament host at Bay Hill.

EUROPEANS DO IT BETTER?
Godich: Aussie Marcus Fraser made headlines when said that the European Tour was every bit as good as the PGA Tour. "Yeah, we don't play for as much money, but the fields are just as strong as the PGA Tour," Fraser said. I say that's nonsense. What say you?

Bamberger: Crazy talk. But fun.

Shipnuck: Depends on the time of year. Europe is indeed be stronger in January, and late-May, parts of June and July, and right before and after October. But if you look at the entirety of the schedule, the U.S. has deeper fields, tougher venues and more tournaments bringing all the top players together.

Van Sickle: The European tour is as strong at the top but I think the PGA Tour still has greater depth. A more pertinent reaction might be, Who's Marcus Fraser?

Stoda: Ask the Internationals who make a living on the PGA Tour what they think, and the rebuttal of Fraser will be clear and complete. It's all about D-E-P-T-H.

Garrity: The leaderboards are just as strong across the pond, but I don't think the Euros have caught up in terms of field depth. Every player in a typical PGA Tour field has already won at the highest level or is a reasonable bet to contend sometime during the season.

Lynch: Remember that the four majors and all WGC events also count as European Tour events too, so Fraser could have a point. Move beyond those events and both Tours probably have a fairly equal number of stops with a quality field. The reality is that the top players have carved out their own global tour based around majors, select events and appearance money, regardless of on which continent or under whose umbrella the event is played. That is the strongest, deepest and wealthiest "tour" in business these days, and it doesn't even have a name.

Walker: The talent level is deeper on the PGA Tour, but outside of the elite guys, it's not much better. The Euro Tour guys usually acquit themselves well at these events.

Morfit: I think the top of the Euro tour fields is as strong, which is one reason why Europe wins the Ryder Cup every two years, but I don't think those fields are as deep. I believe the World Ranking confirms this.

WHAT'S THE BEST TOUR STOP IN FLORIDA?
Godich: As the Tour heads to Florida, which event in the Sunshine State do you most look forward to? And why?

Garrity: My hand is always up to cover the Honda Classic, because then I get to read Mr. Stoda's daily dispatches in the Palm Beach Post. I also like to belly up to the counter at Hamburger Heaven, stroll through the lobby of the Breakers Hotel without the requisite coat and tie, and look up old friends from my '64 graduating class of Palm Beach High School.

Ritter: Probably next week's Honda, where Rory defends and Tiger returns to the scene of last year's final-round 62. Hey, they'll both play at least 36 holes this week, right?

Shipnuck: Doral. It has a great field, a fun risk-reward course and to me heralds the beginning of the run-up to Augusta. Plus South Beach is a great place to blow through an expense account.

Stoda: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Doral has the WGC banner going for it. But give me the Honda. It has a terrific field again this year, McIlroy as the defending champion, Tiger Woods signed up … and I can ride my bike to and from the course.

Morfit: The Honda will be fun this week, just because all the South Florida guys play it, thus ensuring a pretty great field. Also, MacArthur Beach State Park, a short drive from the course, is a beautiful spot for a hike or a jog.

Bamberger: Honda. I brought shorts to Tucson and they never came out. I have high hopes for next week.

Walker: Bay Hill is my favorite Tour stop: good crowds, great atmosphere and the consummate host.

Van Sickle: The Honda Classic had a thrilling finish last year with Rory withstanding a 62 by Tiger. They're both coming back. Maybe we'll get some kind of rematch.

Wei: The sunshine. And I love that you can drive from one venue to another in less than 3-4 hours. My favorite is probably the Honda Classic because I enjoy the agony that the intimidating Bear Trap can cause. I hope it's windy Thursday-Sunday!

Lynch: The Masters.

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