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PGA Tour begins with Frys.com

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POSTED October 9, 2013 10:39 p.m.

SAN MARTIN (AP) — The chill of the morning air in California. Veteran players discreetly looking at golf bags on the practice range so they can put names to the faces they have never seen. Young players concerned about getting into enough tournaments. A parking lot filled with Mercedes-Benz courtesy cars.

Everything about the Frys.com Open looks and feels like a new season on the PGA Tour.

Except for the calendar.

Just 18 days after Henrik Stenson tapped in for par and collected the $10 million FedEx Cup bonus at East Lake, the new PGA Tour season gets underway at CordeValle. It’s the first time the tour starts its season in one calendar year and finishes it in another.

“I’m back to zero,” Stewart Cink said. “I like the fact I don’t have to be No. 76 anymore. I can hopefully establish something new.”

Cink was No. 76 in the FedEx Cup playoffs last month until he failed to advance to the next round after the Deutsche Bank Championship. He has been home for the last five weeks — his offseason — before packing his bags and heading to the airport. And to his surprise, it reminded him of heading off to Hawaii or California in winter, just like the old days on the PGA Tour.

“The last six or seven years, I went to fall tournaments and didn’t have that amped-up feel. I didn’t feel like I was in the heat of things,” Cink said. “… Coming here, I feel a little bit more of a hunger.”

As always, a golfer’s offseason is as long as he wants it to be.

Tiger Woods won the clinching match at the Presidents Cup on Sunday. He’s not expected to play another PGA Tour event until Torrey Pines in January. Adam Scott won’t return to the tour until Kapalua the first week of January. Phil Mickelson will be in Asia later this month for two tournaments now part of the official 2013-14 season.

The Frys.com Open field is not terribly strong. It has only two players from the top 50 (Hideki Matsuyama and defending champion Jonas Blixt), three players from the Presidents Cup (Matsuyama, Leishman and Angel Cabrera) and two from the Tour Championship (Billy Horschel, Gary Woodland).

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