The PGA decides to change the final round to avoid the NFL playoffs and precede the BCS championship
POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Jun 23, 2011
After a few years of gentle nudging, Hyundai Tournament of Champions organizer and NBC golf analyst Mark Rolfing finally convinced the PGA Tour to break from tradition.
The 2012 TOC at Kapalua Plantation will end Monday, Jan. 9, outlasting the NFL playoffs and ending about the time the BCS National Championship game kicks off in New Orleans.
"The theory is, there will be a whole lot of people watching TV that day," Rolfing said. "We want to be part of it."
Rolfing has been pushing the move. Sunday's final round usually collides with NFL wild-card games, and gets lost in the ratings.
More than 10 million watched the TOC's four days of coverage on The Golf Channel this year, the highest number since 2008. The Packers-Eagles playoff on Sunday was the most-watched wild-card game ever, with 39.3 million viewers.
Rolfing says now that "logic prevailed." The tentative plan is to finish Monday's final round about 3:30 p.m. in Hawaii, just as the college championship game begins. That could change for a few reasons, including if the NFL season is delayed. Then Monday Night Football would be in the equation.
A Golfweek story said NBC will promote Hyundai's Monday finish during NFL broadcasts. The Golf Channel and NBC are both owned by Comcast.
The Hyundai Tournament of Champions will open the 2012 PGA Tour season, Jan. 6-9 on Maui. Rolfing said another reason for the Monday finish was to give players an extra day off after the Jan. 1 holiday.
He thinks it will also help the Sony Open in Hawaii — the first full-field event of the year — because it will essentially get an extra day of promotion on the Golf Channel, which rarely runs live programming on Mondays.
The Hyundai field is limited to 2011 tour champions. Jonathan Byrd won this year in a playoff. Rolfing said the chances of getting U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy are “50-50 at best.”
"The issue we're dealing with now is he is not a (PGA Tour) member and only has limited appearances in the U.S.," Rolfing said.
"I'm fighting to get an exemption for the TOC like they have at the Players so it doesn't count against his maximum number of events."
The Deutsche Bank Championship is the only other tour event to end on Monday, finishing on Labor Day.
Recent Kauai High graduate Kelli Oride and Punahou eighth-grader Allisen Corpuz tied for 23rd in last week's 20th annual Rolex Girls Junior Championship at Somerby Golf Club in
The American Junior Golf Association invitational featured 96 top-ranked golfers, including 22 Rolex Junior All-Americans.
Oride, headed to Notre Dame on a golf scholarship, shot rounds of 73, 69, 76 and 76. Corpuz opened 74-75-74, then shot 71 in Friday's final round to have the best finish of the three players scheduled to graduate in 2016.
Ariya Jutanugarn, from Thailand, broke the AJGA's girls 72-hole scoring record in her victory, closing with a 67 for a four-day total of 17-under-par 271.
Hilo's Ciera Min (79-75-76—230) and Honolulu's Alexandra White (79-77-84—240) missed the 54-hole cut. Former Maui resident Kyung Kim (69-69-71-75—284) finished eighth. She will be a high school senior in Arizona this fall.
Kukio Golf Club pro Eric Dugas will defend his championship at the Kona Open, Saturday and Sunday at Kona Country Club's Ocean Course. Dugas won the 2009 Kona Open. There was no tournament last year.
The 119-player field also includes Alika Bell, Kevin Hayashi and Casey Watabu.
Play begins at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, with golfers going off the first and 10th tees. Sunday's final round begins at 7 a.m.
Professionals are playing for a $15,000 purse, with the winner getting $4,000.