PITTSFORD, N.Y. — For the first time in five years, PGA Tour players will face four straight weeks of golf in the FedEx Cup playoffs in 2014.
The tour has been scheduling a week off between its four playoff events since 2010, mainly to keep players in the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup from too much competition. The last two times in Ryder Cup years, the matches were held a week after the Tour Championship.
The PGA of America, on behalf of Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson, asked PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem to consider giving players a week off before the matches.
"Our captain felt like that it was imperative that our players had a week off prior to the Ryder Cup," PGA president Ted Bishop said Wednesday.
The tour acquiesced, and during the course of more conversations, the PGA of America decided to drop "Glory's Last Shot" as its slogan for the PGA Championship. While the PGA Championship is the final major, the rest of the calendar year featured the FedEx Cup playoffs and even the Ryder Cup itself.
The PGA Tour is not releasing its full 2013-14 schedule until next month, but this means there will be four straight weeks of playoff events in August and September, followed by a week off before going to Scotland for the Ryder Cup.
Bishop said Finchem was "provocative" in stating the PGA Championship had the strongest field among major championships and could stand on its own merit without a slogan.
"I think that we feel that our championship does stand on its own merits and there is other golf that's played after this championship, albeit not major golf," Bishop said. "And so that was just one example of some of the many things that I feel like we have been able to work together and accomplish hand-in-hand with the PGA Tour."
The last time the PGA Tour had four straight playoff events was in 2009, when Tiger Woods won the $10 million bonus.
Bishop has been concerned about the energy level of the American team since last year at Medinah, where Europe staged a record-tying comeback. That would go against another school of thought, however, that the matches have been close ever since the FedEx Cup began because all the top players are in form.
So does the tour's big bonanza at the end of the year hurt or help?
"I don't think that it's probably impacted the Ryder Cup that much one way or the other," Bishop said. "I know Tom was very emphatic about this in my discussions with him that he did think that due to number of weeks in a row — or six out of eight weeks that these guys play leading up to the Ryder Cup — that he had some concerns that our players, particularly when we were playing a foreign Ryder Cup and you had to deal with the time change and the travel, that there was a fatigue factor."
RICKIE'S FRESH SET OF EYES: The only swing coach for Rickie Fowler was Barry McDonnell, who taught him on the Murrieta Valley Golf Range in southern California. McDonnell died at age 75 two years ago.
Fowler still doesn't have a coach, though he did seek some help.
Butch Harmon said he was asked to take a look at Fowler's swing during the British Open, during which Harmon recommended the club going back a little more straight so that Fowler doesn't have to drop it back into position on the downswing.
Harmon did not classify it as a formal teacher-pupil relationship.
Nick Watney, meanwhile, was seen twice on the practice range working with Todd Anderson, the Sea Island swing coach whose clients include Brandt Snedeker. Watney worked with Harmon for years, and lately had been seeing his son, Claude Harmon III.