An article in today’s Wall Street Journal says that new PGA TOUR commissioner will likely rearrange the PGA TOUR schedule. The plan is an awful lot like one I first suggested in a post back in October 2016: Fix The PGA TOUR Schedule
Here’s what Wall Street Journal reporter Brian Costa revealed in his interview with new PGA TOUR commissioner Jay Monahan:
The PGA Tour is trying to rearrange the golf calendar in a way that would maximize attention on the sport during the months when the NFL is not in season. That means moving the Players Championship from May to March, moving the PGA Championship from August to May and ending the FedEx Cup playoffs on Labor Day weekend instead of late September.
“That’s certainly something that we would like to see happen,” Monahan said. “Having big events every month, culminating in the FedEx Cup playoffs in August prior to the NFL season, that would be a very powerful schedule.”
And here’s what I wrote in October:
The key to the plan to fix the PGA TOUR schedule will be moving the Players Championship back to March, and the PGA Championship to May. This is not entirely unprecedented. For most of its existence, the Players was held in March. The PGA Championship has previously been played in May …
This plan to fix the PGA TOUR schedule puts significant events in every month of the year:
January: Tournament of Champions
February: WGC Match Play
March: The Players
April: The Masters
May: The PGA Championship
June: The US Open
July: The Open Championship
August: The FedEx Cup Playoffs
September: Ryder Cup/President’s Cup
Coincidence. Most likely. But I’m going to cling to the fantasy that someone at the PGA TOUR actually reads my blog. Realistically, however, it is the only schedule that makes sense, both historically and for the modern audience.
I wrote my proposal out of frustration as a fan. I love professional golf, but the wrap-around season was just too much of a “good” thing. Fans (and players) need an offseason. The PGA TOUR is the only major sport without one.
My proposal was intended to get golf out of the way of the football juggernaut, and to give it a consistently compelling schedule. A shorter season, while perhaps reducing overall money, will make the sport more exciting. It also should make it healthier in the long run. There are more than a few head scratchers among the current title sponsors (and you know who they are). From January to September, fans would have a big event around which to anchor their interest. Tournaments leading into the next event are seen as a preview; on the reverse side there is room for Monday morning quarterbacking. But not too much. The Tour would never be more than three or four weeks away from the Next Big Thing.
More intense fan interest and a deliberately reduced supply of tournaments should equate to higher sponsorship fees. If a company wants to get its name in front of golf’s desirable demographic groups, they may have to pay a bit more.
Another goal was to give the PGA Championship a status greater than the current “Oh, yeah. There’s also the PGA. It’s that one they play between the British Open and the Tour Championship.” Snuggled between the Masters and the US Open, it would become more important, without taking anything away from the other two. I think the Players also gains in stature as the preview for the Major Season. In spite of the PGA TOUR’s best efforts, the Players is never going to be a major. As the warm-up, however …
I really hope they adopt the GolfBlogger Schedule. Fans (and players) will thank them for it, and I’ll be able to write about how I saved the tour.