PGA faces juggling act

IAN HUTCHINSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:21 AM ET

Politicians can relate to the position golf is in now, having made promises to earn last week's recommendation by the International Olympic Committee to be included in the Games, beginning in 2016, and now having to keep them.

The final say comes in October at Copenhagen but, apparently, that is a rubber stamp on last week's recommendation. And that means that the PGA Tour needs to figure out how to juggle its 2016 schedule to accommodate the Olympics, which will be no easy task.

Moving around the PGA Championship and the Ryder Cup has been mentioned, but a two-week gap in the 2016 schedule is huge when the summer schedule is already jammed with majors, World Golf Championships and other big events.

We can only assume that the tour will keep the FedEx Cup playoffs that start at the end of this month and run over four weeks to the fan apathy that has been there from the beginning.

In that case, the only real wiggle room will come from knocking back the schedule a couple of weeks -- causing a domino effect with the fall series and the "silly season" -- but it's all speculation until the new tour schedule is unveiled in 2012.

The other wild card is how the Olympics will affect the participation of marquee names in tournaments before and after the 2016 Games. Some may play more, while others may play less with the Games added into the mix, but the Olympians would definitely not want to play immediately afterwards.

How it all shakes out remains to be seen, but one thing is certain -- the schedule will look a lot different in 2016 and, just like politics, there are bound to be detractors and not just the whiners from outside the game who are throwing tantrums about golf getting into the Olympics.

You're bound to hear complaints from within golf as well, even if the Olympics are good for the game.

Alena staying sharp

Earlier this season, Hamilton's Alena Sharp considered attending qualifying school for the Ladies European Tour because of the number of LPGA Tour events falling off the schedule.

Sharp, who sits 72nd on the LPGA money list, says the Canadian PGA Women's Championship played last week at Dundas Valley Golf and Curling Club near her home town couldn't have come at a better time.

She won't be in a tour event in August until the end of the month when she plays the Safeway Classic in Oregon, so the CPGA Women's tournament and a Cactus Tour event in which she plans to compete offer Sharp some much-needed activity to keep her game in order.

Sharp, who shot identical 71s to finish seven shots behind winner Jessica Shepley of Oakville at the CPGA, says she wasn't a part of the player revolt that led to the ouster of LPGA commissioner Carolyn Bivens, who is renowned for her unyielding opinions and negotiating style, but agrees with the outcome.

"People didn't want to communicate and negotiate with her anymore, so it was time for her to step down," said Sharp. "We might get, maybe, one new tournament on top of what we played this year, but hopefully, we won't lose anymore. I think things are going to be better now than what I thought two months ago."


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