PGA Tour upends entire schedule to please corporate benefactor, promote a tournament golfers don’t care about

Quick, what do Brandt Snedeker, Bill Haas and Billy Horschel have in common?

If you are anything other than an ardent golf fan, you probably have no idea. Uh, their first names start with the same letter?

True. Also, they are all winners of the FedEx Cup, the year-end PGA Tour “playoff” that was envisaged as a thrilling capper to the golf season but instead has largely been an afterthought.

The golf season has always been defined by the four major championships, and occasionally the Ryder Cup, and right now by whenever Tiger Woods has a good week. When the Tour launched the FedEx Cup in 2007 and its US$10-million prize, it thought it was giving a new structure to its season, with all the events building toward a Super Bowl-style finish.

But everyone still mostly cared about the majors, including the players, which quickly became apparent when some of them skipped FedEx Cup events. Turns out you cannot just declare a tournament to be important and have everyone agree. When Sergio Garcia won the Masters last year and the relief of having finally won a major washed over him, no one thought to ask about the lack of a FedEx Cup win on his resume.

In this Sept. 24, 2017 file photo, Justin Thomas holds the FedEx Cup trophy in Atlanta.

And so, as part of a process that has been in the works for years but was finally unveiled this week, the PGA Tour is blowing up its schedule, moving tournaments all over the place, rewarding some and angering others, all of it with a number of stated goals in mind but mostly because it desperately wants the FedEx Cup to matter. It would have been a lot easier to just admit the original mistake.

The biggest change puts the PGA Championship in May (and the Players Championship back in March) to clear the path for a three-week FedEx Cup in August. The Tour has admitted that it can’t compete with football in September and so it will stop trying. For Canadian golf, there is another big move, as reported last week, with the RBC Canadian Open getting out of its dreadful late July date, right after the British Open slot, and moving to early June. Events in Houston and West Virginia will move into the fall, new events are added in Detroit and Minnesota and the former WGC in Akron, Ohio, has been punted and shifted to Memphis in late July, in the slot formerly held by the Canadian Open. Late July in Memphis could set new records for players sweating through their pants.

But as the Tour has done all this rearranging to try to solve one problem, it creates new ones.

A PGA Championship in May removes large portions of the United States from consideration as a host site, and also Jim Nantz won’t get to call it Glory’s Last Shot anymore. And with the Open Championship the final major in mid-July — it has been moved up a week — there will now …read more

Source:: Nationalpost – News


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