PGA Tour Season to End Before Football Next Year
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The PGA Tour has eliminated a FedEx Cup playoff event as part of a revamped, tighter schedule that will allow its season to end a week before the football season begins in the United States.
Most of the changes to the 2018-19 schedule released Tuesday already had been announced. The final piece was where to put two new tournaments between the U.S. Open and British Open. Detroit-based Quicken Loans is calling its event the Rocket Mortgage Classic on June 27-30. It will be followed by the 3M Open in Minnesota and the John Deere Classic.
The tour will feature 46 events over 41 weeks, down from 48 tournaments this year.
The addition of new tournaments in Detroit and Minnesota is offset by eliminating the FedEx Cup playoff event in Boston, the Quicken Loans National that had been run by the Tiger Woods Foundation in the Washington, D.C. area, and a year off for the Houston Open and Greenbrier.
Houston and Greenbrier are to return to the fall portion of the schedule in 2019. The TPC Boston, meanwhile, will rotate with a New York-area course every other year for the opening FedEx Cup playoff event.
Behind the tighter schedule was a desire for the tour to complete its season at the Tour Championship before the start of college football and the NFL. Key to the changes was the PGA Championship moving from August to May, and The Players Championship returning to March.
The wraparound season starts Oct. 4-7 with the Safeway Open in Napa, California, one week after the Ryder Cup in France. The Mexico Championship will move to the end of the West Coast Swing, giving Florida four straight tournaments in March.
The PGA Championship will be May 16-19 at Bethpage Black on Long Island, splitting part of the Texas swing — the AT&T Byron Nelson in Dallas will be the week before the PGA, and the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial will be the week after the PGA.
The RBC Canadian Open moves a week before the U.S. Open, held next year at Pebble Beach.
The tour really gets busy at the British Open, set for next year at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland. Top players then go straight to Tennessee for the FedEx Cup Invitational, a World Golf Championship in Memphis that replaces the event held at Firestone in Ohio.
The three playoff events are The Northern Trust at Liberty National in New Jersey; the BMW Championship at Medinah outside Chicago; and the Tour Championship, which will be Aug. 22-25 at East Lake in Atlanta.
Two tournaments on the schedule no longer have title sponsors listed with their names — the Mayakoba Classic (previously OHL) in Mexico and Reno-Tahoe in Nevada, which previously had been called the Barracuda Championship.
Still to be determined is whether the PGA Tour will change the structure for the FedEx Cup, and how this new schedule will work in 2020 when the Olympics are in Japan from July 24 to Aug. 9. The Ryder Cup in 2020 will be Sept. 25-27 at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.
The 46 events include four tournaments held opposite World Golf Championships, and one event opposite the British Open. That leaves 11 weeks when the PGA Tour does not have an official event.