The PGA Tour has been disappointed by some poor fields in particular events in recent seasons, so they have taken an initiative to do something about it.
Starting with the 2016-17 season, which has already begun, players who failed to play in 25 events last season will need to add an event they have not participated in for the last four seasons to their schedule.
Paul Casey was the first notable to adhere to this new rule when he played in the Safeway Open last week and finished in a tie for third. Casey had not played in the Napa-based tournament since 2011.
“It was pretty easy because I wanted to go to Napa anyway,” Casey said, via GolfChannel.com. “It’s a good rule. Maybe there are events that have had weaker fields in the past, they might get a couple of guys they might not ordinarily get.”
The new strength-of-field regulation will impact a number of stars from Jason Day to Rory McIlroy. The Tour wants to make sure the same events don't get all the stars, leaving the other tournaments out to dry.
U.S. Ryder Cup star Ryan Moore, who is already known for keeping a pretty open schedule, said he was planning on adding a few new events anyway.
“There was actually two or three [new events] I was planning to play anyway,” Moore said. “For me, it really wasn’t much of an issue because there were a couple I really wanted to play, but for some reason it hadn’t worked out.”
However, there is a downside. Players that fall just short of the 25 tournament mark, and play different schedules every year, will find their options limited when trying to add a tournament they haven't played in four years. It could force them to play an event that doesn't suit there eye, or drop an event they really like.
“What you have to avoid this year is to not play a bunch of events that you haven’t played in five years,” Casey said. “I could shoot myself in the foot because if I don’t play 25, again, then you run out of options and you may have to play something that doesn’t suit you or doesn’t fit nicely in the schedule.”
For the most part, it appears the new change will go over well. It was past time the Tour implemented a measure to make sure some of the best players were in the field every week. There may still be some "softer" tournaments, but as a whole, the Tour should be more competitive on a weekly basis.