Golf's Kodak Challenge may prove interesting
There’s a new twist this year on the PGA Tour, and it may turn out to have a better following than the FedEx Cup.
Ok, that’s not saying much, but the Kodak Challenge is worth $1 million to the player who wins the challenge, which is spread out over the course of the golf season.
Here’s how it works: Organizers have selected 24 holes from various venues on the PGA Tour schedule this year. Of the 24, players count the scores from their best 18 holes. The player at the end of the year with lowest score wins.
What’s intriguing is to see how it will affect certain players’ tour schedules. In other words, if a player has only played 19 holes, and he’s got a couple of bogeys and a double among them, but has a bunch of birdies and an eagle or two, will he elect to play in a Fall Finish event he had otherwise planned on skipping?
Of course it depends on the player. My guess is that Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Padraig Harrington and Sergio Garcia wouldn’t change their schedule. They didn’t play in the guaranteed money champions-only Mercedes Benz Championship at the Kapalua Resort’s Plantation Course in Maui, Hawaii, which had a field of under 35 players and no cut. But you can bet most other tour players would play in a fall event if they were contending for the million and needed the extra hole to erase a bogey or worse.
It will also be interesting to see during the course of the season how aware the players are that a particular hole is part of the Challenge. Would they take chances they otherwise wouldn’t to get a birdie or eagle, especially if they were out of contention?
Last week, the Challenge hole was the 18th at the Mercedes Championship, and five guys made eagle there. So our co-leaders after one hole at minus-2 are Johnson Wagner, Adam Scott, Trevor Immelman, Zach Johnson and Anthony Kim. The next challenge hole will be the 17th at the Palmer Private Course at PGA West in La Quinta, Calif., during the Bob Hope Chrylser Classic, Jan, 22-25.
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It will definitely be interesting to see how things pan out in this first year.
All the best.