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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A Good Move for the European Tour as Well

In the midst of the buzz about the PGA Championship moving to May and THE PLAYERS to March in 2019, you may have missed the ET's announcement. These moves stand to benefit the ET in a big way, and their response demonstrates that they recognize it.

BMW-PGA promo photo

When the PGA moves to May, that will make the Open Championship the final major of the year. Think about it -- the last major of the year will now be the oldest championship in golf, and the final act of the major season will be crowning the Champion Golfer of the Year. Somehow, that just feels right to me.

The promotional benefits of this new position also make perfect sense, as it will increase the perceived importance of the Open. (Let's face it, it seems like a bit of a letdown to have one more major after the Open is over. The Open is... foundational to the game. That's no insult to the PGA, it's just that the Open is about 50 years older. Foundational.) And now, there will be a nine-month gap until the Masters, not just eight. There will definitely be an increased feeling of necessity to get that last major.

But there's more. The ET will be moving the BMW-PGA to September in 2019, and I think that's going to help them as well. As it stands, the BMW-PGA -- the ET's equivalent of THE PLAYERS -- has been played the week after THE PLAYERS, and it put some stress on players wanting to play both events. Some would skip one or the other. That will no longer be a problem.

Ken Schofield even suggested that the ET might seek a co-sanction with the PGA Tour, thus improving the strength of the field. It's already played at Wentworth, a course with a long history. It's the headquarters of the PGA ET and has hosted the flagship event since 1984. In addition, it was the host of the 1953 Ryder Cup and the home of the HSBC World Match Play Championship from 1964 through 2007 A lot of big names won trophies there, and the event deserves more attention.

Even better, the BMW-PGA will probably be played after the FedExCup and will certainly be much closer to the final stretch of the Race to Dubai, lending even more importance to it. With the big events of the PGA Tour finished for the season, many more players will likely take some time to play the ET, which will help balance the world points rankings.

While it remains to be seen how all the necessary event shuffling will be handled by the three organizations, this new era of cooperation looks to be very promising for all parties. And that's good for all of us fans.


  1. BMW was played two weeks after Players (Memorial Day weekend)