While major sports leagues in the US are mostly in question on when they will return in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, golf has taken a significant step in announcing a new schedule.
It is even more surprising that multiple governing bodies rule golf’s schedule.
The PGA Tour handles its regular calendar of events. Augusta National Golf Club runs the Masters. The US Open is the USGA’s major championship. And, the PGA of America runs the PGA Championship, which is not to be confused with the PGA Tour.
All of those groups came together last week to form a revised schedule. It ensures no overlaps on events and still provides fans with the biggest tournaments in 2020.
The only major that wasn’t able to be rescheduled was the Open Championship.
The Royal and Ancient Golf Club (R&A) has an insurance policy that supposedly gets the organization a large payment if it cancels the tournament by a specific date. So, the 149th Open Championship at Royal St. George’s will move to 2021 while the 150th Open will remain at the famous St. Andrews in 2022.
That cancellation opened up a week on the schedule on July 16-19 that the PGA Tour is reportedly trying to reschedule with one of its canceled events.
The PGA Championship starts it off
The first major is the PGA Championship.
Initially, it was the second with a May 14 start date, but now the PGA is scheduled for Aug. 6-9.
TPC Harding Park in San Francisco will keep the event. The Bay Area course was rumored to potentially lose the major due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but a later date has kept it on the schedule.
TPC Harding Park was once a well-loved course that hosted PGA Tour events until a rapid decline in conditions started in the 1970s. That deterioration remained until a 2002 renovation put it back on the map for major golf.
Summer’s loaded schedule
The PGA Tour’s FedExCup playoffs will move back a week and span three weeks, starting on Aug. 20.
The BMW Championship will be Aug. 27-30 at Illinois’ Olympia Fields Country Club. Golf’s big events will take a week off after the Tour Championship before the US Open’s revised date on Sept. 17-20.
Currently, one of the epicenters for the coronavirus outbreak, Mamaroneck, New York, will get to keep the US Open at the famous Winged Foot Golf Club. Some players will then immediately travel west to Whistling Straits in Wisconsin for the Ryder Cup, which has kept its original dates of Sept. 25-27 in a packed month of championship golf.
The Masters held in an unfamiliar month
Usually golf’s first major of the year on the second weekend of April, fans are used to the Masters singing the songs of spring with birds chirping and flowers blooming around Amen Corner.
With its postponement and now announced rescheduled date to Nov. 12-15 as the final major of the year, it will be a much different Augusta National for the 2020 Masters. While Georgia is a warm state, it can still be quite cold in the middle of November. Seeing players bundled up in layers of clothing and browner Augusta National grass will make for an odd experience. Nonetheless, a year of golf with no Masters would be much worse, and there will now be two Masters Tournaments scheduled within five months of one another.
Tiger Woods will remain the reigning Masters champion a little longer.
Tiger vs. Phil II?
While social distancing has made most sporting events impossible, the WWE shows that it can be possible to run isolated sporting events for consumption on TV.
Reports surfaced on April 1 that Tiger versus Phil II could take place in May with a new kicker: Mickelson will team up with Tom Brady and Woods will team up with Peyton Manning.
The event would run on regular cable television, likely TNT, and the proceeds would go to charities providing relief for the COVID-19 pandemic. If the PGA Tour, which would sanction the event, approves the match, it would be a welcome distraction.