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PGA Tour Suspends Pro-Am Rule After Jim Furyk Barred

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Aug. 31 (Bloomberg) -- The PGA Tour suspended its Pro-Am policy for the remainder of the season, six days after Jim Furyk was disqualified from the Barclays tournament for missing his tee time with a group of amateurs.

Furyk, the 2003 U.S. Open champion, said he overslept and arrived at Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, New Jersey, five minutes after his round was to begin. He said today he was “extremely pleased” with the change.

Under the rule, adopted in 2004 by the Tour’s Policy Board, any player who misses a pro-am tee time for any reason other than an injury or family emergency is ineligible to play in that week’s tournament. The Policy Board is made up of Tour executives and players.

Last week’s ruling was called “ridiculous” by Phil Mickelson and prompted the world’s No. 2-ranked golfer to discuss the policy with Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem.

For the rest of the season, any player who is late for his pro-am starting time will be allowed to participate in the remainder of the round and then take part in additional activities with tournament sponsors, Finchem said in a press release.

If a player misses all of his pro-am, he will be ruled ineligible for the tournament unless he has been excused, the tour said. The policy will continue to be evaluated and discussed with players at a meeting in November.

Furyk Praise

“I am glad the PGA Tour has changed the rule,” Furyk said in a statement. “Pro-ams are an integral part of our success out here on the PGA Tour but I’m extremely pleased that Commissioner Finchem and the Tour staff has reacted swiftly and modified the rule.”

Furyk, who entered the Barclays tournament ranked No. 3 in the tour’s FedEx Cup playoff standings, dropped to No. 8 after the disqualification and will compete in this week’s Deutsche Bank Championship near Boston.

Furyk said he overslept because his cell phone lost power, preventing its alarm clock from going off. After rushing to the course without socks or a belt, he was told he wouldn’t be allowed to play in the tournament.

In pro-am competitions, a professional golfer is grouped with paying tournament sponsors for a round before the start of the main event. While the Tour maintains that the pro-ams are necessary to entice sponsorship, players often participate grudgingly.

At the Barclays, 54 of the 125 players in the field were entered in the pro-am, leading to Mickelson’s criticism.

“The rule itself applies to only half the field,” Mickelson said at the time. “If you’re going to have a rule that does not apply to everybody, because not everybody played the pro-am, you cannot have it affect the competition. I cannot disagree with it more. I have no idea how the commissioner let this rule go through. It’s ridiculous.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Buteau in Atlanta at mbuteau@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net.

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