The alliance between the PGA Tour and the European Tour announced last fall has been brought into sharper focus with the announcement Tuesday of the 2021-22 PGA Tour schedule which will include three co-sanctioned tournaments.
Among the most significant elements of the new schedule include:
- Adding the Genesis Scottish Open to the PGA Tour schedule next July while including the Barbasol Championship and the Barracuda Championship in both the FedEx Cup and Race to Dubai points races;
- Reducing the number of World Golf Championship events from four to two;
- And, making the FedEx St. Jude Championship the first event in the three-tournament FedEx Cup playoffs.
“It’s an important first step,” European Tour CEO Keith Pelley said in a video conference Tuesday morning.
The European Tour schedule is still being finalized, Pelley said.
Inserting the Genesis Scottish Open into the PGA Tour schedule necessitated moving the John Deere Classic, traditionally played the week before the Open Championship, one week earlier on the PGA Tour schedule. It will allow the top players on both tours to play in the Scottish Open and the Open Championship in successive weeks.
“It presented us an opportunity to demonstrate the impact we can have together,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.
The 48-tournament PGA Tour schedule will be the first played under the new nine-year media rights deal signed by the tour last year. Monahan said the new schedule will include an 18-percent increase in total earnings for the tour and a $35 million increase in prize money. Every PGA Tour event, Monahan said, will have an increased purse in the new season which will begin with the Fortinet Championship Sept. 13-19 in Napa, California.
While the number of World Golf Championship events will be cut in half, the existing WGC events will remain with different distinctions.
The WGC-HSBC Champions in China in November and the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Texas, in March will remain as they are.
The Mexico Championship April 25-May 1 will lose its WGC distinction as will the tournament being played at TPC Southwind in Memphis this week.
Among the unanswered questions in the joint announcement is whether the Saudi International will be on the 2022 European Tour season.
The Memphis event will launch the FedEx Cup playoffs next year followed by the BMW Championship at Wilmington (Delaware) Country Club and the Tour Championship at East Lake in Atlanta, ending the last full week in August, avoiding a Labor Day weekend finish.
The new playoff rotation leaves the PGA Tour without events in the New York, Boston and Chicago areas.
“For us, it is a matter of when, not if, we will be back,” Monahan said, pointing out the number of PGA of America and USGA events scheduled to the New York and Boston areas in the relatively near future.
Among the unanswered questions in the joint announcement is whether the Saudi International will be on the 2022 European Tour season. Given the political issues surrounding Saudi Arabia and reports that Saudi investors are now involved in the Asian Tour with a goal of creating a handful of star-driven, big-money events, there have been reports the tournament will not be sanctioned next year.
Pelley declined to comment specifically about the Saudi event. Monahan said PGA Tour players will be allowed to play in the event if it is sanctioned by the European Tour but they will not be given releases to play if it is unsanctioned.
Both Monahan and Pelley said they had not spoken with Andy Gardiner, who is trying to create the new Premier Golf League, and both leaders said they have no plans to speak with Gardiner.
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