As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to plague the sports world, golf’s governing bodies have been working to come up with alternate plans for the calendar and a revised PGA Tour schedule may be unveiled soon. This schedule would include The Masters being moved to November, the PGA Championship becoming the first major of the year, and a possible new venue for the U.S. Open. What’s currently holding things up is the R&A’s decision on whether or not to postpone The Open Championship or cancel it entirely.
The PGA Tour is hoping to resume in mid-June
While there is nothing yet set in stone, the PGA Tour is hoping to resume the season in mid-June. Currently, tournaments through early May have been canceled but with more delays possibly on the horizon, June looks to be the target. With the U.S. Open and Olympic golf being postponed, this opens up some weeks on the schedule. There have been talks of even holding multiple events in the same week, which would allow more players to participate in the shortened season.
The PGA Championship would be the first major played
In a normal year, the PGA Championship would be the second major championship on the golf calendar. However, under the possible new schedule, which was revealed to Golfweek by a few people close to the discussions, it would be the first major played, taking place at San Francisco’s Harding Park from August 6-9. It was originally scheduled for May 14-17.
The FedEx Cup Playoffs would be pushed back a week
Following the PGA Championship, the PGA Tour would hold its annual Wyndham Championship event from August 13-16 and then go right into the FedEx Cup Playoffs, culminating with the Tour Championship on Labor Day weekend.
The Open Championship could impact the U.S. Open, which might need a new venue
If the R&A does decide to completely cancel The Open Championship and collect their insurance premium, there’s a chance that the U.S. Open at Winged Foot could slide into the slot from September 17-20. If The Open Championship is contested at that time, which the new schedule has in place, the U.S. Open would need a new date, and possibly a new venue. An option being discussed is moving the U.S. Open from Winged Foot in New York, which is at the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, to either Torrey Pines or Pebble Beach in California, especially if America’s national championship needs to move into October.
The Ryder Cup is the only thing on the calendar that wouldn’t change and is scheduled for September 25-27 at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.
The Masters would be played in November
The new schedule would see The Masters take place at Augusta National Golf Club from November 5-8, likely making it the final major of the year as opposed to the first. It was supposed to take place from April 9-12 but was postponed on March 13.
It’s unclear how the PGA Tour would stage the 2020-2021 wraparound season with this new schedule but that’s likely being discussed as well. Another wrinkle could be where these tournaments are viewed on television. If golf comes back, that likely means that most other sports would be back as well and the networks that the PGA Tour works with (CBS, NBC, FOX, ESPN) will have different contractual obligations that they’ll need to figure out.
Nothing is official yet but at least there seems to be a plan in place for the PGA Tour, even if it is a rather ambitious one. Like we’ve all been doing recently, we just have to wait and see what happens.