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QUICK TAKE: Weighing The Players’ Impending Return To March

The Players Championship will have new dates in 2019 (Photo Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports).

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA | Although the official announcement of the PGA Tour’s 2019 schedule has been put off for a time – it had been expected this week – it was established long ago that in 2019 the Players Championship will move back to March, when it was played for more than two decades.

The move of the Players is a central piece in the reshuffling of the Tour schedule, accommodating the PGA Championship’s move to May and setting up a five-month stretch with a major event in each month followed by the FedEx Cup playoffs.


For the Players Championship it will be a significant change, affecting the playing conditions at a TPC Sawgrass Stadium course that will have overseeded ryegrass fairways when it returns to the earlier date. (They play on Bermuda in May.) The change also means more unpredictable weather and winds, with cooler and breezier conditions likely.

Like so many other things, whether players like the move is a matter of personal preference.

“Whether it’s good, bad for the tournament, that’s for somebody else to decide, but for me personally, I like this grass type. Having said that, I haven’t played the weekend the last few years,” said Jordan Spieth, who has missed the cut in his past three starts here. “I’m OK with change but I do love the course the way it is right now.”

When the new Tour schedule is announced, the Players Championship is expected to be the third event in a four-week Florida swing, following the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens and the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando, and preceding the Valspar Championship near Tampa.

From there, the Tour is expected to go to the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, the Valero Texas Open, the Masters, the RBC Heritage, the Zurich Classic, the Wells Fargo Championship, the AT&T Byron Nelson and the PGA Championship.

“I honestly feel like that might be probably a good change, because if you look at it we have a lot of events we play from the beginning of the season up to Augusta and then it seems like every other week is either a major, a World Golf Championship or the Players,” Patrick Reed said. “I think it’s a good idea to kind of spread it out where you have … some big events throughout the entire year, not just all bunched up at one time. I feel like what’s happened right now is there’s just too many big events in a row.”

 

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