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Whispers of Major PGA Tour Schedule Changes

Tim Finchem
Don't be surprised if there is a significant PGA Tour schedule shift in the future, says Tim Finchem. And don't be surprised if there's not.

With television negotiations on the horizon, the PGA Tour will continue to look at its schedule, though commissioner Tim Finchem cautioned against expecting major changes in the near future.

The FedEx Cup playoffs now are 10 years old and there has been discussion about potentially rolling back the finish of the Tour season to earlier in September to avoid a conflict with football.

There has also been conjecture that the Players Championship eventually could move back to March if the PGA Championship would be willing to move to May.

In theory, it would allow the Tour to have a powerhouse event each month for six months, starting with The Players followed by The Masters, the PGA Championship, the U.S. Open, the Open Championship and the FedEx Cup playoffs, which could end around Labor Day.

“If something is really working well, we really kick the tires pretty hard for a while before we mess around with it,” Finchem said. “On the other hand, we’re always asking how can we do this better?

“We’re increasingly focused on our television rights discussions laid out over the next few years. We’ll probably get further into that before we start tinkering with the schedule.”

Of course, television contracts and the Tour’s schedule go hand in hand. There’s also the uncertainty about whether EMC Corporation will sponsor what has been the Deutsche Bank Championship beyond its deal for 2017. That has raised the possibility that the FedEx Cup playoffs eventually may be reduced from four to three events.

There also are discussions about creating a new two-man team event on the regular Tour schedule, though details are still being worked out.

Any notion that the Tour would go quiet for a couple of months during the fall and early winter is farfetched.

“I wouldn’t rule out changes but, at this point in time, I wouldn’t assume changes either,” Finchem said.


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