I'm glad that you guys are willing to help. When it comes time to release something it would be very helpful to have someone test the server before making any announcements. Beta tester if you will.
So this type of work is what I do. For fun and professionally. The problem with sniffing H2H traffic is that it will be completely different then what the server login cadence is. So it's best to go for the gusto and work on the server. Dealing with different years shouldn't be complicated. Merit has already dealt with this. We are using their software with no modifications. Without looking yet I would believe the call in procedure would deal with game data and not year data. Meaning if X year had games ABC and Y year had games BCD it doesn't matter. The machine reports it's info for game B, C, and D. Then receives data for game B, C, and D. It doesn't care about game A.
The real problem, will normally be with encryption. This was the case with the PGA server. No smart company is going to send info like this in plaintext. Especially when tournament prizes are being given. It will be encrypted. That's not a problem though. Once you know what encryption is being used, how the key is derived, how the initialization vector is derived, you can decrypt and encrypt as needed.
So my main goal for posting was to gauge interest and make sure I wouldn't be wasting my time if I worked on a server for all of us home owners. Looks like people would be interested. Also it makes the game more fun being able to compete against people from around the world.
Oh, I should probably state a few things while i'm here. Just like I did for PGA. I am not going to hack the game, I am not going to modify the game code at all. I am not going to violate any IP. That would get this project shut down before it even starts. I want everybody who has an off the shelf Merit game to log into this server as they would normally do when Merit had their servers. But instead of pointing to them, the games will point to the private server.