New PGA Tour slate means more golfers could backload their European schedules
Martin Kaymer and others are going to play PGA Tour in the spring and Euro in the fall
We might not be getting a world tour in 2019 (or ever), but we at least have the facsimile of one with the new PGA Tour and European Tour schedules. One of the unintended (?) consequences of moving the PGA Championship to May and curtailing the PGA Tour season before football starts in September is that the European Tour has responded with some of its best events in the fall (because who cares about American football season in Europe, I guess).
The European Tour's response to the movement of the PGA Championship to May was to move their own flagship event -- the BMW PGA Championship -- to September after the conclusion of the PGA Tour season. Additionally, seven of the eight Rolex Series events are after the U.S. Open in June.
This has created a scenario in which players who spend a lot of time on the European Tour will essentially be able to play both tours pretty effectively, if they so choose. It also means the post-desert time for the European Tour from February-June is, uh, not great. But that's a liability they were willing to take on so that they could take center stage later in the calendar year.
"I can spend three or four months in the States," Martin Kaymer told Golf Digest recently. "Then I can play in the Rolex Series events after the U.S. Open in the run-up to the Open Championship. That will mean much less crossing the Atlantic. It just makes sense to stay in America until the end of the U.S. Open when there is only three or four weeks between the biggest events from the Players all the way through the majors. It would make no sense to go back to Europe, which is a shame for the events there."
It seems from that article and other bits I've seen from players that they pushed for a backloading of the schedule. You have this murderer's row of events following the U.S. Open:
- Irish Open
- Scottish Open
- Open Championship
- European Masters
- European Open
- BMW PGA Championship
- Dunhill Links Championship
- Spanish Open
- Italian Open
- French Open
- Final three events in the Race to Dubai
That's insane! And it's mostly happening either as the PGA Tour is winding down or has already concluded. There's a real stage for the European Tour to take, and they seem intent on taking it.
"We know the challenges with the ever-changing global calendar," European Tour CEO Keith Pelley told the New York Times. "We've studied it, as you can imagine, forensically. When the move happened with the PGA Championship, that certainly changed things."
To me, it has changed them for the better. While the tours will compete in January as the PGA Tour goes to Hawaii and California and the European Tour hits their big desert swing, the overall rhythm of both tours dovetails so much better than before. PGA Tour golf in the spring. European Tour golf in the fall. Both in the summer. It might not be a true world tour, but it might be as close as we ever get.
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