PGA Australia goes back to the future with new schedule
It was only a decade or two ago that it was normal to see professional golf played in Australia past December with some of the biggest names in golf coming Down Under in February for the likes of the Heineken Classic.
And for players looking for an instant entry into what was then known as the Nationwide Tour, a feeder for the PGA Tour, there was also the Jacob’s Creek Open and Moonah Classic, which opened the doors for many Aussies to head to the US.
Adam Scott won his second Australian PGA title last year (Credit: PGA Australia)
So it comes as no surprise that under the current circumstances, the PGA of Australia has announced that it is going back to the future with a tournament schedule that will now run from October through to the Order Of Merit winner being crowned in March of the following year.
According to Tournaments Director Nick Dastey, the shift to a wrap-around season will allow the Tour to work on bringing new tournaments to the January and February time slots, which aligns with a traditionally quieter time on the European and PGA Tour schedules.
“The coronavirus has obviously caused great disruption to golf tournaments throughout the world but we saw an opportunity to not only provide our players with a full season this year but put in place a schedule that we believe is in the best interests of golf in Australia,” Dastey said.
“If the current restrictions do not ease in time we now have the opportunity to push events into the early months of 2021 and give our players every opportunity to push for that Order of Merit title.”
“We remain hopeful that the tournaments currently scheduled will proceed as planned but we are also exploring opportunities to add new events early next year to further bolster the schedule.”
“The golf season used to run over the summer months and into the new year and we believe by adjusting the schedule in this way that it will be a positive move not only for our players but also golf fans.”
Amongst the benefits of a shift in seasons will be the possibility of co-sanctioning more events with the European Tour to create an “Aussie Swing” early in the new year along with a chance to build “The Players Series” featuring male and female professionals into the schedule.
Subject to the approval of government and health authorities, the PGA of Australia confirmed that the changes in schedule will not impact the Australian PGA Championship, which is set to return to Royal Queensland Golf Club in early December for the first time since 2001.
“We are thrilled to be back at one of the country’s treasured courses in Royal Queensland Golf Club’s centenary year,” said PGA of Australia chief executive Gavin Kirkman.
“The Australian PGA Championship remains one of the world’s most competitive tournaments and has helped catapult the careers of its champions. Adam Scott’s breakthrough last year translated to immediate success on the PGA TOUR at the Genesis Invitational less than two months later.”