PGA Tour plans to use “9&9” pro-am format at record 18 events this year

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If success is best measured by imitation, consider the PGA Tour’s “9&9” pro-am format a qualified triumph.

In 2018, when the circuit introduced the format, which allows players to play nine holes of the pro-am with one pro before finishing the round with a second pro, the idea was to inject some new life into the events that had largely become stale for both players and amateurs.

When the policy was unveiled, seven events embraced the new format. According to last month’s Greensheet, an internal memo sent to players, that number has expanded to 18 Tour events this year, including new additions, this week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions and the Wyndham Championship later this year.

The “9&9” format mitigates the commitment each player must make and gives amateur participants a chance to meet and interact with two Tour pros.

The Tour halted pro-am’s during last year’s pandemic but selectively resumed the events in the fall. The revenue produced by each week’s pro-am provides a large portion of each tournament’s operating budget, particularly with the absence of fans because of COVID-19 restrictions.