The PGA Tour is changing how pro-ams are played at their events, making it more friendly for players as they prepare to compete in that week's tournament.
Starting with the 2018 Waste Management Phoenix Open, the PGA Tour will change the pro-am format from one where amateurs play 18 holes with a single pro to amateurs playing their first nine holes with one pro before another pro tags in for the second nine. The format is colloquially dubbed "Nine and Nine."
For pros, it's great. Instead of having to commit to a six-hour round, they're now on the hook for three hours at most. That gives them more time to work on their games or otherwise get ready for the tournament.
For ams, it's perhaps a mixed benefit. Getting to know two pros over 18 holes could be a better experience, though the time spent with each pro will now be truncated. Also, ams should get perkier pros, who will now know they're not going to be forced to languish in a painfully slow round. The handoff from one pro to another could also become a fun moment. It's been done successfully for years on the LPGA.
The concept was piloted during the 2017 FedEx St. Jude Classic, and it went so well, particularly with participating players, that it's now going to be the format moving forward. Charities will continue to benefit from players shelling out thousands to hack it around with a pro watching, and the pros won't have as many shots they can't unsee before they have to play for a million-plus every week.