Blog Post By: Jon Conklin, General Manager & PGA Professional
2019 Changes to the PGA Tour
In 2017, the PGA Tour announced a schedule change which began in 2019. This year was an interesting year to say the least in regard to the PGA Tour and its schedule.
We saw a total schedule change that pushed the PGA Championship into May from August. The Players Championship moved from May to March. The FedEx Cup Playoffs moved to August from September and the tour came back to Michigan for the first time since 2009. Not to mention the Tour Championship’s format change.
The above-mentioned changes may not seem like much to the average golfer or average viewer, but for the avid golf fan and tour players, it was a major change from the norm. The tour schedule while being long in length, normally January through September (if you make the FedEx Cup), is now from January through August. Therefore, condensing a schedule and taking away from time to play overseas, time-off for family, and additional time to work on their game. Below, is an overview of the “major” events happening for the season.
- March – The Players
- April – The Masters
- May – PGA Championship
- June – US Open
- July – British Open
- August – FedEx Cup Playoffs
My Thoughts on the Tour Changes
Personally, I love this schedule! While we have a stacked schedule, it also makes some of the smaller tournaments more relevant. What I mean by this, is if you play in the PGA Championship, but do not qualify for the US Open, you only have a few weeks to qualify. Therefore, we are probably going to see you at the Rocket Mortgage event, at the end of May, at Detroit Golf Club.
I also feel this can help bring in more fans to the game of golf. For example, if I am a big Bryson DeChambeau fan, I may not have to go 3 weeks at a time between watching him play. With the condensed schedule, he may be playing for 3 weeks straight, to take a week off, to get back at it. Finally, it also means the PGA Tour is not competing with the elephant in the room. The NFL. The PGA Tour’s official schedule is done prior to the first week of the NFL season.
Personally, I do not have much sympathy for the tour player. Sorry, not sorry. Correct me if I am wrong, but MLB Players plays 162 games. Not just 162 games, but 162 games in 185 days! This was the time-frame for our Detroit Tiger's schedule, and of the 23 days off, 4 of them were for the All-Star Break.
Yes, I know that a team sport is different than an individual sport. Yes, I know the salaries are not the same either. However, for some of the tour professionals to comment how it is difficult because they cannot practice and get their games in-check is foolish. They have the option to take a week off and work on their game, they make $0 for that week, as well. But when an MLB Player isn’t batting well, they have to work during the small window between the games they have. They cannot just take off a week and relax in the hopes the swing comes back the following week.
2020 will also look different. The Olympics is back in action for the second time in the history of the event, which will also throw another wrench in the situation. Change is never easy, but this change is huge for the sport.
In summary, these are all just my personal thoughts on the tour and recent changes. I'd be interested to hear your opinions, so please feel free to stop and chat with me at the Bucks Run Clubhouse sometime! Until then, we hope to see you out on the course for a discounted round of fall golf before the 2019 season comes to a close.