David, as always I appreciate your thoughtfulness amidst another’s thoughtlessness.
We generally have between 20-23% new players each year. Those number remain very consistent and we are currently at 21.8% for 2016. So as of right now we have 646 that have never played in the World Am. We’re excited about the opportunity to showcase the event to those players, and hope that the 2,400 past players are as well.
The 19th Hole is an amazing part of our golf tournament and we fully understand its importance to the vast majority of players. It is important to remember that our goal with the price increase was to maintain the level of experience that people have come to expect and to add value to prizes and courses. If we only focus on how many players we get each year, this event will die. The focus has to be on the experience and the value, not the number.
The notion of 100 player flight is a great one for us. It would mean less work throughout the flighting and scoring process, fewer handicap issues to deal with and a smaller prize budget. It isn’t better for you though, and that is why we don’t go back to it. More people win meaningful prizes with smaller flights. The amounts awarded to 1-5 are much better than awarding 1-10. Who wants a 9th place trophy or gift card amount when you can have 4th place?
A minimum of two players from each course go to the Friday round as it is right now. With ties, it comes out to about 1.25 per flight, which is 2.5 per course. So taking the top 2 from 100 player flight wouldn’t make any difference and the top 3 would only be a slight increase, because we would have to break a tie for the third player to go.