The significantly revised 2019 PGA Tour schedule contains a ton of moving parts. Although many of the changes were positive and achieved the PGA Tour's overall goal, not every move created ideal scenarios for certain events.
Here are the winners and losers of the new PGA Tour schedule.
FedEx Cup Playoffs
The major goal in regards to the 2019 schedule reshuffle was to move the FedEx Cup Playoffs from September, avoiding competition on Sundays with the National Football League. With the Tour Championship wrapping up in August, this mission was accomplished as final rounds of marquee playoff events will no longer go toe to toe with the beast that is the NFL. The FedEx Cup Playoffs were also shortened from four events to three, something players have been requesting for some time. A condensed and more watched FedEx Cup Playoffs will allow the tournament to gain the necessary traction and attention it's lacked for years.
The Players Championship
Moving The Players back to March - a slot it held up until 2007 - places is it in the middle of the Florida swing and away from the May heat. Instead of being wedged between the Masters and U.S. Open, The Players will have a greater prestige as the first "major" event on the calendar. Golf enthusiasts will no longer have to wait until April to see all of the world's best golfers compete, a win for the event and the fans.
Canada's lone event will no longer hold its horrible July slot a week after the Open Championship. It's new home - a week before the U.S. Open - will give the Tour's third-oldest stop new life. A number of pros, including Phil Mickelson, like to play the week before the U.S. Open as a tune-up. With the long flight from Europe no longer an issue and the U.S. Open set in California for 2021 and 2023, the opportunity for Canada's West Coast to host its nation's tournament in future years becomes a strong possibility.
The Midwestern states of Minnesota and Michigan are huge winners in the 2019 schedule release, as both areas are home to new PGA Tour stops. The Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit Golf Club and 3M Open at TPC Twin Cities will be played over back-to-back weeks in early July. These new events will likely garner a ton of buzz, replacing Tiger Woods' event in Washington D.C. and The Greenbrier, which have seen diminishing fields in recent years.
World Golf Championships
The World Golf Championships always attract golf's best because of the guaranteed money and high purses. However, three of the four WGC's ended up in brutal time slots. WGC-Mexico and WGC-Match Play remained unchanged, but their weeks fall in extremely busy times on the schedule. The new WGC event in Memphis is now the week after the Open, a slot no Tour stop wants to hold. The money will still bring out the biggest names, but the overall quality of the events could take a hit due to fatigue or a lack of interest.
The fields from the last couple of seasons at the Valspar Championship were impressive, most notably when Tiger was in contention in 2018. The momentum being gained by the Tampa Bay-area event will likely come to a crashing halt, as it is now slotted after The Players Championship and before the WGC-Match Play. It will be a tournament that big names will regularly skip.
The removal of a playoff event means TPC Boston will no longer regularly host the PGA Tour. The venue will alternate with a New York-area course to host the season's first playoff event, the Northern Trust Open, but removing a stop in Boston is eyebrow-raising. The Travelers Championship will act as the Tour's only stop in New England.
Texas golf fans got screwed. They lost their Houston Open in April, and although it will be moved to the fall, the field strength will take a drastic hit. The Texas Open now falls the week before the Masters and will be played at a course that does not resemble Augusta whatsoever. The AT&T Byron Nelson is now a week prior to the PGA Championship at Trinity Forest - a venue that will have a tough time replicating any track set to host the season's second major. Expect all three Texas stops to have worse fields than in previous seasons.
A full look at the 2019 PGA Tour schedule can be found here.
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