GET INTO GOLF: Schedule shakeup creates chances for up and comers |

GET INTO GOLF: Schedule shakeup creates chances for up and comers

John Renslow
Laura Mahaffy/ | The Union

Last week we discussed the ‘graduates’ of the Tour and their priority ranking that grants access into the PGA Tour schedule. As veterans, regulars on the PGA Tour opt out of certain tournaments, it allows more of the graduates to play and earn their way into future events.

You may have noticed that the Player’s Championship took place in March versus the historical May dates. The PGA Championship, which as traditionally been held in August, has been bumped up to the spring. The FedEx Playoffs have been moved to August.

We have also talked the “wrap around” year. The PGA Tour season begins in October now. It was likely too tight for the FedEx Playoffs run through September only to have the whole thing start all over again within days.

In the ‘old’ days, the season was essentially over in September and the year would kick off in Hawaii where the winters are 80 degrees and sunny.

So it seems the PGA Tour has created a bit of a break between the year-end playoffs and the start of a new season. It also puts all of the Tour’s major events into a so-called seasonal prime time. Three of the four majors occur in the spring and the playoffs start when most of the country is still happy to be outdoors.

All of this creates some interesting narratives. The competitors change their plans based on personal preference. Many of the elite players will take certain weeks off in order to rest or prepare for the events (specifically majors) that are important to them.

This week is a case in point. As mentioned, the PGA Championship, which has been the year’s fourth and final major for decades, will begin next Thursday at Bethpage Black in New York. As a result, Phil, Tiger, Rory, DJ…none of them playing this week.

Hence, nearly all of the aforementioned 50 graduates are teeing it up in the AT&T Byron Nelson Classic. In fact, a well known amateur is in the field. He’s an amateur golfer, but a world class professional athlete. His name is Tony Romo, former quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys.

Romo, is an exceptional golfer, yet not tour caliber and, as of this writing, missed the cut with a 36-hole total of, 150, plus 8 over par. Not dead last, he even played a little better than a few of our graduates.

The door is also opened up to some professional’s with unfamiliar names that have some game. Sung Kang, from Korea, shot 61 yesterday and has a four shot lead going into the weekend.

However, he has to keep it up. Not every household name stayed home. Major winners Brooks Koepka, Jordan Spieth and Henrick Stenson are playing well and in the mix.

Young players getting a chance. The world’s best gathering next week. Spring is in the air and our local golf courses are in really good shape.

Go out and enjoy the game. Then tune in to the greatest on Golf Channel.

John Renslow is a PGA Professional, VP of Yugi Golf Management, and provides golf instruction at local courses.

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