The field for the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, set for Oct. 17 to 20 and now part of the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup Series, remains a work in progress. But whoever plays will find a slightly tougher TPC Summerlin.
Bunkers have been brought into play at holes No. 7, 12, 13 and 18 to try to make things more challenging. It shouldn’t affect scores much, but the hope is it will force the pros to think before deciding which club to hit off the tee.
“We looked at ShotLink, which tracks every shot each player takes on the course, and the data showed the way these holes played,” tournament director Adam Sperling said Wednesday at the event’s media day. “So we looked at where the shots were being made and tried to change the way these holes will play.
“You might see guys hit driver off the tee now, where in the past they may have hit a 3-wood or a hybrid. We just want to challenge them a little more.”
Defending champion Ryan Moore said he’s looking forward to the new challenges.
“They made good changes,” the former UNLV All-American said. “They put a little more trouble in the right places. You’ll have to hit a little better tee shot, but it won’t really impact the scores.”
Along with the 30-year-old Moore, Sperling said he has had a few early commitments and expects to get more after this week’s FedEx Cup playoff event outside Chicago.
“Because we’re now at the start of the year, a lot of guys who aren’t thinking about next year won’t think about whether to play until their year is over,” Sperling said. “We knew that going in when we were switched on the calendar from the end of the season to the beginning, especially with this first year of the change. But we believe that ultimately we’ll have a stronger field than in years past.”
Sperling said he has commitments from several well-known players, including 2010 Shriners Open champion Jonathan Byrd, former U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover and Fredrik Jacobson. He also expects veterans Davis Love III, Vijay Singh and Kevin Chappell to play.
“We’ve been talking to a lot of players and their agents, and we’ve been getting a lot of positive feedback,” Sperling said. “I think when it’s all said and done, we’re going to have a great field.”
Moore said a lot of players will look at the Shriners Open to get a jump on securing coveted FedEx points early on. “It’s an opportunity to get off to a great head start,” he said.
Officials said the Hill will be part of the daily admission and include concerts Friday and Saturday nights. Scheduled to play both nights are the Dirty Guv’nahs, with Jared Lee also performing Friday and The Jeremy Cornwell Project on Saturday.
“We’re always trying to enhance the experience and attract a broader audience,” Sperling said. “We’re hoping people will come for the golf and stay for the music.”
Contact reporter Steve Carp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter @stevecarprj.