It’s all go for January after the R&A and USGA published their finalised Rules of Golf. So what’s coming in? Steve Carroll outlines the changes.
Poulter Feeling “Pressured” by Schedule
Ian Poulter feels the top players are "pressured" into playing too much golf and fears it is affecting their performances.
Speaking before the $8.5 million WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, Poulter said players who have trimmed back their schedules seemed to be reaping the benefits.
"I feel sometimes we are pressured in some ways to play golf as much as we are. We have to be very, very careful with our schedule to make sure we have a fine balance of a good home life and a good business life to make sure we're playing the best golf we can," he said.
"We've seen a number of players who have shortened their calendar and have done exceptionally well: Tiger (Woods), Adam Scott, Steve Stricker just to name a few."
But with the current structure of the US PGA and European Tours, Poulter said he was resigned to another busy year in 2014.
"Obviously 15 events Stateside, 13 events in Europe, adds up to a lot of tournaments and we have to play a few in the back end of the year to qualify for the (season-ending) DP World Tour Championship."
His comments take the gloss off the launch of the new European Tour's "Final Series", to which Ian was referring. Players are required to play at least two of the first three -- two in Shanghai, one in Turkey -- to qualify for the hugely lucrative finale in Dubai.
"I won't be changing my schedule an awful lot to be honest. I'll still maintain my two cards (US and Europe). I need to do that because I want to play Ryder Cup," said the Englishman Poulter.
Poulter is not a lone voice in this debate. Open Champion Phil Mickelson said he was considering trimming his schedule to focus on the majors next year.
"It took a lot out of me these last couple of months where we played nine out of 12 weeks," said the five-time major winner.
"I think spacing the events is important," said Mickelson. "I like having a three-week stretch heading into the majors, although next year that [the U.S Open] will be the only three-week stretch."
US Open champion, Justin Rose said he skipped the BMW Masters in Shanghai last week simply because he did not want to be away from home for four weeks.
"Just very hard for me to be away for a month with two young children," said Rose. "It's very hard to justify a month away from home."
Players committee chairman Thomas Bjorn is understood by AFP to be holding a meeting of players this week in Shanghai to discuss the way forward. "We may need to tweak it," conceded the big Dane.