Playing by the Rules - June 2011

June Edition

Playing by the Rules (Issue #22)
This space is usually filled with my thoughts and ideas on things that I deal with on an almost daily basis from April-October, the Rules of Golf. While that is the part of my job that I enjoy the most, and am the most comfortable with, I actually am entrusted with other things that relate directly to our tournament program. I work directly with the NEPGA Tournament Committee to formulate how we proceed as a Section when it comes to all things tournaments.
The Tournament Committee we currently have in place is a great mix of PGA Professionals; Chairman Bob Giusti leads a diverse group with representation from all of our Chapters plus the Seniors and Assistants. While there are always many different thoughts and opinions within the group the one thing that they all agree on is, if you are going to do something, do it right!
With that in mind they decided it was time to review the point system for determining the Section Player of the Year and after much discussion, they came to the conclusion it needed to be tweaked.
At the same meeting, the Committee also decided to change the format of the yearend AHEAD Series Championship event. The revised event would now serve as the final opportunity to accrue points toward Player of the Year and become an event that would reward a select group of 36 qualifiers from the AHEAD Series events to finish off our competitive year.
While it seemed like a fairly simple task, it would prove to be anything but that. Combining two separate but relate tasks wasn’t easy, the Committee realized they had quite a bit of work to do.
Thankfully we have people like Troy Pare, PGA on the Committee who are willing to take the time and effort to due their homework, formulate some original and sensible ideas and come up with a template that gave us a starting point to work from.
To make a very long process shorter and easier to understand for all of you, this is what the Committee has come up with. They wanted to change the point system to reward the player who performs the best in the most important events, while still rewarding the players who support and excel in “our” events. When I say “our” events I am referring to the New England PGA Section Championship, New England Open and the AHEAD Stroke Play Series. These are events that we administer and offer opportunities for all of you to compete against your fellow NEPGA Professionals.
They also wanted to emphasize the importance of the PGA Professional National Championship, conducted by the PGA of America and a true major Championship for club professionals.
We continue to award points to all of the New England State Opens as well as national Championships that offer professionals playing opportunities, either through qualifying (U.S. & British Opens) or performance in other events (PGA Championship)    
By increasing the point values for each of these events we are able to offer a larger number of points to those who perform the best at that particular event while still being able to reward a meaningful number of points to the rest of the field. At any events that that are not strictly limited to NEPGA Members the actual finish of the NEPGA Member determines the number of points he receives
All AHEAD events offer the same amount of points for determining Player of the Year.
However, the Committee wanted to create a separate point system to determine who the 36 qualifiers for the yearend Championship would be.
A system that while still rewarding the top performers at each of the five AHEAD events would offer the player who performed well in several of the series events an opportunity to qualify.
By creating a separate, lower value point system for the five one-day events that will determine the 36 qualifiers, the Committee has achieved that goal.
The new point values for the Player of the Year and AHEAD Championship will be posted at the applicable events and available for you to review on the Section website. Please check it out and let me know your thoughts.
As I stated in my Tournament News article last month, this was a long process, it was finally presented to the Executive Committee for approval just a few days before the first point eligible event, the AHEAD Series event at Weston Golf Club. Full disclosure, not everyone on the Committee agreed with every thing that was finally submitted, but after a couple of revisions they were able to come to a consensus that they had accomplished what they had set out to do. As I have said before, the best thing about this Committee is that they have no ego and understand that if something isn’t right or you the Membership do not find it acceptable, we may need to revisit it and make changes.
It is with that attitude that we plan to review what we have created at the end of this season and react accordingly.
While the Wogan Trophy that is presented to the Player of the Year may never be held by many of us, having the opportunity to compete against our peers is what it is all about. I believe the Committee did a great job with this task and the changes made will allow all of you to have a truer gauge of where you stand within the Section as a tournament player.
See you next month,