Golf: Too early to judge impact of new PGA Tour wrap-around series: Finchem

MELBOURNE (AFP) - PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem today denied that the new 2013-14 PGA Tour "wrap-around" series is detrimental to the growth of smaller tours such as those in Australia and Asia.

For the first time in the PGA Tour's history, a new season has commenced in the remaining few months of the prior year, with last month's Open in California.

There are 11 events listed on the PGA schedule until Christmas before the first of 40 in 2014 proper get under way with the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii in January.

The 2013 tournaments take place while tours in Asia and Australia are in full swing, with nine Australians last week competing in the OHL Classic in Mexico instead of the Australian Masters in Melbourne.

"The wrap-around schedule is in its first year and judging the impact is a couple of years off," said Finchem in Melbourne.

"We have a fiduciary responsibility to do what we do. It is to generate benefits for our members. Sixty-eight, 70 of our exempt players are from other places, not the US, and that is a good percentage of our players.

"So when those players do well on the PGA Tour, and because we broadcast to 220 countries, when a player does well from another country which happens a lot on the PGA Tour, it helps golf in those areas."

Although most of the game's heavy hitters are taking a break after completing the season-ending play-offs, the fall events have added spice with a Masters invitation also on offer to the winners.