Make no mistake about it, less than three months into the job, new PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan is facing some extremely difficult challenges. In my estimation, the most complicated and potentially most important is the PGA Tour schedule and sweeping changes that are likely to occur over the next few years. There are a number of different factors and forces that will impact scheduling…not the least of which will be the long term television rights negotiations that the PGA Tour is currently undergoing with both incumbent networks and potential new media platforms.
The schedule change just this month to the former Florida Swing that relocated the WGC from Doral to Mexico is a great example of the domino effect that can be created by a single tournament site change. Going forward, there are many circumstances that will have a huge ripple effect on the PGA Tour schedule.
As I see it the three most complicated and potential impactful stretches of the schedule are as follows:
- Beginning of the calendar year/early January. The Tournament of Champions on Maui is one of the PGA Tour’s most important and prestigious events and will not be sustainable (currently looking for a sponsor) in the existing date so close to the Christmas/New Year holiday.
- March…trying to squeeze two WGC events into the month before The Masters has dramatically impacted scheduling thoughts for top players. This could become a gigantic puzzle if the much discussed move of The Players back to its original March dates were to occur.
- August…currently this month is crammed full of strong PGA Tour events and the seasons fourth major, the PGA Championship. Also on the discussion table is a scheduling overhaul that would move the entire FedEx Cup Playoffs out of September….with the goal to finish before the NFL season begins. Wow!
There is no doubt that Jay Monahan will be a terrific successor to Tim Finchem….but he is being tested very early on with a Rubik’s Cube puzzle….that is the PGA Tour schedule!”
For more information visit http://www.pgatour.com/tournaments/schedule.html.