HONOLULU -- There won't be as much channel-surfing to find the PGA Tour next year, the start of a six-year deal that includes only two major networks and gives The Golf Channel exclusive cable rights for 15 years.
The announcement yesterday culminates a major shakeup in the PGA Tour, which also revamped its schedule to create a season-long points race and a blockbluster finish designed to get Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, and other stars to play together more often.
While financial terms with CBS Sports and NBC Sports were not disclosed, PGA commissioner Tim Finchem conceded that prize money that was escalating at a bullish rate will flatten over the next six years.
ABC Sports walked away from negotiations late last month, and cable partner ESPN followed. That keeps the PGA Tour away from the biggest sports brand on cable, relegating all Thursday and Friday rounds -- along with three tournaments at the start of 2007 -- to a cable channel that still doesn't reach every market.
More pieces of the puzzle are to follow in the next week, such as how the 2007 schedule will look, and how many tournaments will be part of the ''Quest for the Card," a series of tournaments after the Tour Championship that will allow players to try to finish in the top 125 on the money list.
Finchem also said The Players Championship would move from the last weekend in March to the second week in May. He said NBC would have no more than five minutes of commercials every hour at The Players Championship, similar to the arrangement CBS has with the Masters.
And in a move that might further muddle the meaning of ''World Golf Championships," all will be played in the United States in 2007 with the one that alternated with Europe moving to Doral at the end of March. Doral now will have a limited field.