Many of the pros want to reduce the number of players in each tournament. As of this year, the PGA has limited the number of contestants in its regular events to 144, but this is still an unwieldy field and full of players who have no more chance to win than your Aunt Emma. When weather delays play, as it often does in the winter and spring with heavy rains and even frozen greens in the early morning, it is impossible for everyone to complete an 18-hole round before nightfall. A field of 120 or even 100 is far more realistic, the best players say. Pros whose current performances are outstanding would be eligible automatically for the tour, but there would be very few spots available to the "rabbits," who now tag along the tournament trail hoping to pick up the last drippings from the money spout.
Lest they be accused of closing their ranks against newcomers, the reform-minded pros point to the new school for fledgling players that Marr's committee organized and which goes into operation for the first time this fall. It will weed out some of the young players who will never make the grade, but it will turn up those who will. And here, the pros say, is where their new format makes great good sense. During the 20 or 25 weeks of the year when no official tournaments were scheduled, a great many unofficial tournaments would certainly spring up around the country where the newcomers could gain seasoning and experience. The prize money would be less but the competition would not be nearly so intense.
Wherever the tournament players gather these days they are talking reform. Opinions vary on the precise details but there is a virtual unanimity that the only people who can clear away the organizational smog in the PGA are the players themselves. This does not mean that they intend to divorce themselves entirely from the PGA proper. A great many of them came out of the teaching ranks and even more of them will return there when their playing careers are over. They want to keep a loose affiliation with the parent body, perhaps by paying a token percentage of their dues to the PGA.
But change is in the wind, and the breezes blowing up from the PGA headquarters in Florida are only partially responsible. As Bill Casper says, " Florida is a good place for old people, so the PGA is located in the right place. But our organization should be in New York or wherever else you have to be to get things done with the sponsors and television people and the manufacturers who support us."
The players, after a succession of profitable years, have close to $400,000 in their tournament bureau treasury, and their mood is mutinous.