Shriners Open Organizers Discuss Future on Media DayUpdated: Aug 16, 2012 10:07 AM PDT
LAS VEGAS - The Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open held a media day Wednesday. Despite a slight stigma associated with the golf tournament, its long-term future looks bright.
"For some reason, the media and the fans looked at the fall series as it was. Obviously, you can't compete with the playoff, but it wasn't as big as a regular tour event," said defending Shriners champion Kevin Na.
Tournament director Adam Sperling hopes that could change next year. "I think it'll make a big difference," he said.
In 2013, the tournament will go from being part of the little known "fall finish" on the PGA Tour to one of the first events on the tour's newly defined schedule with critical FedEx Cup points at stake. The change could entice more well-known players to come to the valley.
"A couple of my good buddies that might not play this event are thinking about adding it to their schedule," Na said.
Even with the change in schedule starting next year, don't expect Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson to be in this tournament anytime soon. Organizers do, however, expect the field to be a lot stronger from top to bottom.
"From an overall strength of our field, guys 30 through 132, there'll be some more familiar names," Sperling said.
There's even some talk of possibly moving the tourney from its early October slot to a more prestigious spot in the spring. That's ultimately up to the tour, but the Shriners Hospital for Children is willing to make the large financial commitment if that opportunity ever arises.
"I think it would be exciting. I think you'll get a lot of crowd(s). I think you'll get the top-name players," Na said.
The 2012 tournament takes place October 1st through 7th at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas