Governing bodies set to announce revised schedules

It seems golf’s governing bodies have been working tirelessly behind the scenes with Golfweek reporting that the announcement of an updated PGA Tour schedule for 2020 is imminent.

According to several anonymous sources, the revised lineup would see three major tournaments contested in the back half of the year along with the Ryder Cup, which is slated to take place in the US at Whistling Straits this year.

Tiger Woods Tiger Woods will have to wait a little longer to defend his historic 2019 Masters win (Credit: PGA Tour)

The recently cancelled Players Championship is an apparent early causality of the pandemic with plans to reschedule the tournament seemingly put on ice.

The final sign-off on the new schedule dates is reportedly being held up by the R&A, who are yet to make a decision about whether the 149th Open Championship will be postponed or cancelled.

The tournament is set for July 16-19 with the rumoured new dates moving it back to 17th-20th September, which would place it in the week prior to the Ryder Cup.

Any cancellation of the Open Championship would allow room for other events such as the US Open to slot in some time in mid-July.

The biggest change on the schedule would see the Masters teeing off on November 12th, a month later than previously rumoured.

While we are used to enjoying the Masters in pristine condition, a little known fact is that the course actually shuts down just after the Masters through to late September for course maintenance, which shortens any window of opportunity.

Tournaments can be endlessly shuffled around on paper, however any new dates can raise other major issues including TV coverage and whether or not courses in certain areas of the country will ready for tournament golf.

For example, the 2020 US Open venue, Winged Foot, which is located in New York won’t be suitable for tournament golf as the northern states of the U.S. head towards the winter months and fewer daylight hours. If the tournament is moved it will most likely head west to California where both the weather and sunlight hours are less of a consideration.

“Depending on how far out we might have to go it could mean that we need to find a new location. If we get beyond September we would need to find a US Open-ready course in a place with the right climate and agronomics, with consideration to available daylight hours,” said Craig Annis, the USGA’s chief brand officer.

Two options may be Torrey Pines, which was set to host the 2021 US Open and Pebble Beach, where the 2019 edition was hosted and won by Gary Woodland.

Torrey Pines was home to the famed Tiger Woods US Open playoff victory over Rocco Mediate in 2008 while Pebble Beach has held six previous US Opens from 1972 through to 2019.

At this time, the PGA Tour schedule is still set to resume on May 21st at the Charles Schwab Challenge but that is sure to change when any new announcements are made.

The other concern is that any rescheduling of the PGA Tour means that the 2020-2021 season, which normally begins after the Tour Championship, would most likely have to be pushed back, raising another set of headaches for organisers.