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Friday, April 17, 2020

The PGA Tour Schedule Changes Again

When I posted the tentative Tour schedule on Monday I said I believed sponsors and events would cause the Tour to make more changes as the COVID-19 situation evolves. I specifically mentioned Jack's comment that the Memorial would likely be moved to the previous OPEN week, and indeed the new schedule has done just that... among other changes. (The asterisks mark FedExCup events.)


DATE EVENT LOCATION
June 11-14 Charles Schwab Challenge Colonial CC, Fort Worth, Texas
June 18-21 RBC Heritage Hilton Head Island, S.C.
June 25-28 Travelers Championship TPC River Highlands, Cromwell, Conn.
July 2-5 Rocket Mortgage Classic Detroit Golf Club, Detroit, Mich.
July 9-12 John Deere Classic TPC Deere Run, Silvis, Ill.
July 16-19 Memorial Tournament Muirfield Village GC, Dublin, Ohio
July 23-26 3M Open TPC Twin Cities, Blaine, Minn.
July 30-Aug. 2 WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational TPC Southwind, Memphis, Tenn.
July 30-Aug. 2 Barracuda Championship Tahoe Mountain Club (Old Greenwood), Truckee, California
Aug. 6-9 PGA Championship TPC Harding Park, San Francisco, Calif.
Aug. 13-16 Wyndham Championship Sedgefield CC, Greensboro, N.C.
Aug. 20-23 The Northern Trust* TPC Boston, Norton, Mass.
Aug. 27-30 BMW Championship* Olympia Fields CC (North), Olympia Fields, Ill.
Sept. 4-7 Tour Championship* East Lake GC, Atlanta, Ga.
Sept. 10-13 Safeway Open Silverado Resort and Spa North, Napa, Calif.
Sept. 17-20 U.S. Open Winged Foot GC, Mamaroneck, N.Y.
Sept. 24-27 Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship Corales Golf Club, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Sept. 25-27 Ryder Cup Whistling Straits (Straits Course), Kohler, Wis.
Oct. 1-4 Sanderson Farms Championship CC of Jackson, Jackson, Miss.
Oct. 8-11 Shriners Hospitals Open TPC Summerlin, Las Vegas, Nev.
Oct. 15-18 CJ Cup Nine Bridges, Jeju Island, South Korea
Oct. 22-25 Zozo Championship Accordia Golf Narashino CC, Chiba, Japan
Oct. 29-Nov. 1 WGC-HSBC Champions Sheshan International GC, Shanghai, China
Oct. 29-Nov. 1 Bermuda Championship Port Royal GC, Southampton, Bermuda
Nov. 5-8 Houston Open GC of Houston, Humble, Texas
Nov. 12-15 Masters Tournament Augusta National Golf Club, Augusta, Ga.
Nov. 19-22 RSM Classic Sea Island Resort (Seaside), Sea Island, Ga.
Nov. 26-29 OPEN OPEN
Dec. 3-6 Mayakoba Golf Classic El Camaleon GC, Playa del Carmen, Mexico


There are two articles at the GC website that summarize the changes -- this detailed one from Rex Hoggard and a shorter one from GC Digital. A couple of events are missing that were on the original proposed schedule, the Barbasol Championship and the RBC Canadian Open. In addition, the Greenbrier event has now permanently ended its relationship with the Tour due to continued scheduling problems.

Note that there is overlap between this season and next season, as well as events that might not be played at all. As Hoggard's article says:
The Tour also unveiled what the fall portion of the 2020-21 schedule could look like if play resumes in June. The new season would begin at the Safeway Open (Sept. 10-13) followed by the U.S. Open (Sept. 17-20) and the Ryder Cup (Sept. 25-27).

The updated fall schedule also includes the Asian swing with events in South Korea (CJ Cup), Japan (Zozo Championship) and China (WGC-HSBC Champions) in October although current travel restrictions would make those events unlikely.
And the Tour is planning to play the first four events of the restart without fans.

It's worth noting that this Tour schedule is still a work in progress, because a mid-June start isn't a given at this point. If this schedule holds up, the 2019-2020 schedule will still play 36 events.

But I have to say that this schedule seems over-complicated to me. While I appreciate the Tour's efforts to get back up running as soon as possible and provide as many opportunities for players as they can, there comes a point of diminishing returns. Perhaps it would be better to accept this year as a lost season and simply merge these two partial seasons into one large one ending in 2021 for the purposes of determining a player's Tour eligibility. Then, rather than cramming every possible event into such a short (and unpredictable) time frame, they could focus on providing a less hectic schedule.

I realize there are charitable considerations that must be taken into account, and I'm all for that. Charities are more important than normal at this point, and I applaud the Tour for not leaving their charitable partners in the lurch. I just wonder if this is the best way to accomplish that goal. As we are so often reminded, rescheduling on this scale carries a hefty price tag of its own.

This schedule will change, of course. But this is the official plan for now so we'll see how it goes.

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