News & Opinion

PGA Tour’s schedule overlap makes for odd fit

John Hawkins and Mike Purkey try to put the pieces together

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Longtime golf journalists John Hawkins and Mike Purkey, who co-host the weekly Hawk & Purk podcast on MorningRead.com, also discuss and debate the game’s hottest issues in this weekly commentary.

Does it make any sense for the PGA Tour to overlap the 2019-20 season with the 2020-21 schedule?

Hawk’s take: Does it make any sense? Of course not! Have you ever heard of another sports league overlapping seasons? Can you imagine how worked up Stephen A. Smith or one of those nuclear-reactive opinionists would get if the NBA attempted such a stunt? The PGA Tour gets away with numerous forms of mindless shenanigans because 90 percent of the mainstream-sports media doesn’t understand pro golf’s competitive infrastructure. The other 10 percent couldn’t care less.

Why, then, am I OK with this particular case of administrative tomfoolery? Because that insidious virus has messed up everything, and because the Tour is scrambling like some short-order chef to whip up playing opportunities for its middle- and lower-class members. Only the most intense golf fans pay attention to the fall events, but that doesn’t mean they don’t serve a valuable purpose.

Of bigger issue to me is why Camp Ponte Vedra doesn’t wait until after the Masters to complete the FedEx Cup playoffs. As I wrote earlier this week, the Tour views virtually everything from a business perspective. Dollar signs wipe out all the stop signs, but in the case of the overlap, there is and will be a need to get the lesser touring pros a sufficient amount of starts as they attempt to retain their playing privileges.

This is yet another indication of how there are actually two tours operating under the same governmental auspices: the popular one, with all the superstars; and the other, full of guys trying to make a living. The breadcrumbs may be golden, but they still need to eat.

Purk’s take: Just when we thought it couldn’t get any stranger, the PGA Tour drops this one on us: the 2020 U.S. Open and Masters will now be part of the 2021 season. Yes, the coronavirus pandemic has turned the world upside down and inside out, but it apparently also has robbed the schedule makers of the voice of reason.

In an effort to prevent the 2020-21 season from beginning before the 2019-20 schedule ended – are you with me here? – the Tour made changes so radical that they defy explanation. How, in the name of Deane Beman, can you have two Masters and two U.S. Opens in the same season? How will that affect how players qualify for each event? And then there’s the unprecedented issue of six majors in one season.

The Tour serves many masters, pardon the pun, and keeping all sponsors happy all of the time is an impossible task. As for players, all they want to do is play, no matter what season it is. But this? No other game reveres its history more than golf does. This move eternally upends it.

Saving dollars is one thing. Saving a legacy is another thing entirely.

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