It’s been a while since there’s been regular golf coverage here at The Game Haus. Besides a May 2017 article entitled “The Excruciating Fight Between Tiger Woods and Father Time” and an August 2018 blurb about the first iteration of “The Match” between Tiger and Phil Mickelson, the PGA tab hasn’t been updated since November 28, 2016. A bit has changed since then. New faces (and a few heels) emerged, established faces got over the major hump and Tiger seemed to be kicking father time’s butt, winning the 2019 Masters.
Golf was in a good place, with new guys growing in popularity and the guy back in the thick of things, but then 2020 reared its ugly head and the whole world came to a screeching halt. But it’s possible to social distance while golfing, so the Tour was able to resume earlier than other sports. The early start allowed some stars and storylines to make mainstream buzz. This, combined with a surprisingly exciting schedule down the stretch, makes the PGA Tour must-watch TV for any sports fan. So here’s a look at what fans will be watching on upcoming quiet Sunday afternoons.
It’s a busy month for Tour pros, starting with next week’s Barracuda Championship in California and ending with the first two legs of the three-week FedEx Cup Playoffs at TPC Boston and Olympia Fields CC. Despite the Tour’s best efforts to hype up the Playoff, the highlight of the month will be the year’s first major (it’s important to note that all majors were moved to a later date, with the exception of the Open Championship, whose 2020 iteration was canceled) and the first stop of the championship gauntlet, the PGA Championship at San Francisco’s TPC Harding Park from August 6-9. Brooks Koepka will be looking to defend his title and win his fifth career major. Between the PGA Championship and the FedEx Cup Playoffs will be the Wyndham Championship in Greenville, NC.
Like August, three of September’s five weekends feature important tournaments on the Tour’s calendar. Unlike August, it’s difficult to tell which is the most important. Some players would say it’s the U.S. Open, others the Ryder Cup. PGA employees, on the other hand, would say that actually the Tour Championship is the most important tournament of the whole year. It’s the culmination of a year-long competition and the true measure of the world’s greatest golfer. Of course, everyone cares about the FedEx Cup Playoffs, they’re as big as a major, maybe bigger.
Despite the PGA’s failed attempts at making the FedEx Cup Playoffs and Tour Championship equivalent to the majors, it’s hard to discount its insane payouts. This year’s FedEx Cup champion will take home $15 million in prize money. This doesn’t even include normal tournament payouts for each of the three legs. Despite the apathy many feel about the event, the prize money alone makes it a part of the championship gauntlet.
After that weekend at East Lake, some pros will head to California for the Safeway Open while most big names head to Winged Foot in New York to prepare for the next leg of the gauntlet: the U.S. Open from the 17-20. Only a week after that, the stars head to Wisconsin for the biennial Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits. The U.S. will be looking to take the Cup from the Europeans, despite likely not having a crowd at their back. This will be followed up by the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship.
After the insanity of September, October gives players and fans a bit of a breather from the championship gauntlet. As some tournaments are on the other side of the world, it is unlikely many stars will be playing. After stops in Jackson, Mississippi and Las Vegas, the Tour plans to go to Asia. Travel restrictions could result in stars missing the tournaments if they even run at all. It starts with the CJ Cup in South Korea, then the ZOZO Championship in the greater Tokyo area and finishes with WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai. The same weekend as the WGC is the Bermuda Championship at Port Royal GC.
Sure there’s a tournament every week in November, but there’s only one anyone cares about. It’s the biggest one of them all. It’s a tradition unlike any other. It’s The Masters. Normally, the tournament’s a sign of winter’s end and the beginning of spring, filling the gap between March Madness and baseball. Instead, it will be November 12-15 and a sign winter is coming, a stark contrast to the norm. Excitement is high, as it’s the game’s biggest tournament and the game’s biggest star is defending the title, but there may be concerns with the condition of the course. While some of the course maintenance rumors surrounding Augusta National have been debunked, colder temperatures could lead to issues with grass and foliage growth. Hopefully, it will provide a fitting end to the championship gauntlet. If nothing else, The Masters will make for an interesting finish to an interesting golf year.
*Note The 2020 Ryder Cup has been postponed to September 2021. We apologize for the mistake.
Make sure to check out our PGA page for more updates!