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With changes aplenty, the 2018-2019 PGA Tour schedule is here

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Calendar lovers, scheduling enthusiasts, and golf fans too: the long awaited day is here. The PGA Tour today presented its 2018-2019 schedule.

“A cadence of events highlighted by significant championships every month,” the Tour called the 46-tournament schedule, which now concludes before the NFL season starts.

A few quick notes

  • The FedEx Cup is now three events instead of four.
  • Two new tournaments: the Rocket Mortgage Classic June 24-30 in Detroit and the 3M Open at TPC Twin Cities in Minneapolis.
  • The RBC Canadian Open moves from late July to June 3-9.
  • The Players Championship moves from May to March (11-17) and the PGA Championship moves from August to May (13-19).
  • The final World Golf Championships event of the season will now be held at TPC Southwind in Memphis as the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.
  • The Houston Open and A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier move to the fall.

Here’s the whole darn thing, as posted to PGATour.com

DATE TOURNAMENT COURSE LOCATION
10/1 – 10/7 Safeway Open Silverado Resort and Spa (North Course) Napa, California
10/8 – 10/14 CIMB Classic TPC Kuala Lumpur Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
10/15 – 10/21 THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES Nine Bridges Jeju Island, Korea
10/22 – 10/28 World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions Sheshan International Golf Club Shanghai, China
10/22 – 10/28 Sanderson Farms Championship Country Club of Jackson Jackson, Mississippi
10/29 – 11/4 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open TPC Summerlin Las Vegas, Nevada
11/5 – 11/11 Mayakoba Golf Classic El Camaleon Golf Club at the Mayakoba Resort Playa del Carmen, Mexico
11/12 – 11/18 The RSM Classic Sea Island Resort (*Seaside Course, Plantation Course) St. Simons Island, Georgia
BREAK
12/31 – 1/6 Sentry Tournament of Champions Kapalua Resort (The Plantation Course) Kapalua, Hawaii
1/7 – 1/13 Sony Open in Hawaii Waialae Country Club Honolulu, Hawaii
1/14 – 1/20 CareerBuilder Challenge PGA WEST (*Stadium Course, Nicklaus Tournament Course); La Quinta Country Club La Quinta, California
1/21 – 1/27 Farmers Insurance Open Torrey Pines Golf Course (*South Course, North Course) San Diego, California
1/28 – 2/3 Waste Management Phoenix Open  TPC Scottsdale (Stadium Course) Scottsdale, Arizona
2/4 – 2/10 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am *Pebble Beach Golf Links, Spyglass Hill Golf Course, Monterey Peninsula Country Club (Shore Course) Pebble Beach, California
2/11 – 2/17 Genesis Open The Riviera Country Club Pacific Palisades, California
2/18 – 2/24 World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship Club de Golf Chapultepec Mexico City, Mexico
2/18 – 2/24 Puerto Rico Open Coco Beach Golf & Country Club Rio Grande, Puerto Rico
2/25 – 3/3 The Honda Classic PGA National Resort & Spa (The Champion Course) Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
3/4- 3/10 Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard Bay Hill Club and Lodge Orlando, Florida
3/11- 3/17 THE PLAYERS Championship TPC Sawgrass (THE PLAYERS Stadium Course) Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
3/18 – 3/24 Valspar Championship Innisbrook, a Salamander Golf and Spa Resort (Copperhead Course) Palm Harbor, Florida
3/25 – 3/31 World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play Austin Country Club Austin, Texas
3/25 – 3/31 Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship Puntacana Resort & Club (Corales Golf Course) Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
4/1 – 4/7 Valero Texas Open TPC San Antonio (AT&T Oaks Course) San Antonio, Texas
4/8 – 4/14 Masters Tournament # Augusta National Golf Club Augusta, Georgia
4/15 – 4/21 RBC Heritage Harbour Town Golf Links Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
4/22 – 4/28 Zurich Classic of New Orleans TPC Louisiana New Orleans, Louisiana
4/29 – 5/5 Wells Fargo Championship Quail Hollow Club Charlotte, North Carolina
5/6 – 5/12 AT&T Byron Nelson Trinity Forest Golf Club Dallas, Texas
5/13 – 5/19 PGA Championship # Bethpage State Park (Black Course) Bethpage, New York
5/20 – 5/26 Charles Schwab Challenge Colonial Country Club Fort Worth, Texas
5/27 – 6/2 the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Muirfield Village Golf Club Dublin, Ohio
6/3 – 6/9 RBC Canadian Open Hamilton Golf & Country Club Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
6/10 – 6/16 U.S. Open # Pebble Beach Golf Links Pebble Beach, California
6/17 – 6/23 Travelers Championship TPC River Highlands Cromwell, Connecticut
6/24 – 6/30 Rocket Mortgage Classic Detroit Golf Club Detroit, Michigan
7/1 – 7/7 3M Open TPC Twin Cities Blaine, Minnesota
7/8 – 7/14 John Deere Classic TPC Deere Run Silvis, Illinois
7/15 – 7/21 The Open Championship # Royal Portrush Golf Club Portrush, Northern Ireland
7/15 – 7/21 Barbasol Championship Keene Trace Golf Club (Champions Trace) Nicholasville, Kentucky
7/22 – 7/28 World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational TPC Southwind Memphis, Tennessee
7/22 – 7/28 Reno-Tahoe Tournament Montreaux Golf and Country Club Reno, Nevada
7/29 – 8/4 Wyndham Championship Sedgefield Country Club Greensboro, North Carolina
8/5 – 8/11 THE NORTHERN TRUST Liberty National Golf Club Jersey City, New Jersey
8/12 – 8/18 BMW Championship Medinah Country Club (Course No. 3) Medinah, Illinois
8/19 – 8/25 TOUR Championship East Lake Golf Club Atlanta, Georgia

With respect to the early opinions, here are a few.

Writing for PGATour.com, Jim McCabe riffed on discussions with Olin Browne and Joe Durant.

“What caught Browne’s attention was the climactic finish to next season – three consecutive weeks of the FedExCup Playoffs culminating with the TOUR Championship Aug. 22-25. Reducing the FedExCup Playoffs by one and concluding the season before Labor Day and the onrush of football are definitive exclamation points, in Browne’s view, and two former PGA TOUR competitors who helped give shape to the FedExCup Playoffs agree.

“It’s more dynamic, instead of the season petering out like it used to,” said Joe Durant, who was a member of the Policy Board when the FedExCup debuted in 2007. Another Policy Board member was Brad Faxon, who recalls that “we always had the thought to eliminate competing against the NFL when the FedExCup started. This new schedule is good. I think it’s better to have only three playoff events.”

Writing for GolfChannel.com, Rex Hoggard offered praise and approval but cautioned that there will be an adjustment period to the condensed schedule.

“Essentially, the Tour had to shed four weeks off the season to move out of football’s shadow. Losing the Boston playoff event and the post-season “bye” week was half the bill. The Houston Open was relocated to the fall portion of the schedule, and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational was replaced by an existing event in Memphis.

“If that all sounds clean and easy, consider that the run up to the post-season will now feature a major (The Open), a World Golf Championship (Memphis) and the Wyndham Championship. Including the three playoff stops, that’s five must-play events in a six-week window.
How this congestion impacts events like Bay Hill or the AT&T Byron Nelson, which will now be played the week before the PGA Championship, remains to be seen, but there will be tough choices made.

“Consider the RBC Canadian Open, which has been mired in a post-Open Championship vortex, will now be played the week before the U.S. Open. Depending on where the American championship is played, the move could give the field in Canada a boost, but it’s hard to imagine how it’s going to lead to long-term improvements.”

ESPN’s Bob Harig praised moving the PGA Championship to May, however, he worries that given the host venues and time of year for that tournament, weather and conditioning could be problems. He praised wrapping the Playoffs before the NFL season begins, and also said, “golf-mad markets in Minneapolis and Detroit are rewarded with PGA Tour events, the Canadian Open moves off a tough date after The Open, the WGC event in Akron loses a sponsor in Bridgestone but picks up a big one in FedEx.”

Those are a few thoughts from long-serving scribes. What do you think about the new schedule, GolfWRX members?

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  1. Bryan from Boston

    Jul 10, 2018 at 11:04 am

    RIP TPC Boston. I’ll certainly spend some extra time to enjoy it this year. Cutting that tournament out of the schedule makes me sad because I love going to it, and love watching the other rounds that weekend. The Monday finish was always great too.

    • 3PuttPar

      Jul 10, 2018 at 4:03 pm

      Agreed…I had a chance to play TPC Boston about a month ago and loved it. I’ve been to the tournament twice and once I found out it was most likely going to get the boot on the new schedule I made sure I got tickets this year. I’ll miss that tournament. Looks like we’ll be making the drive to CT for the Traveler’s.

      • Konklifer

        Jul 11, 2018 at 9:32 am

        As of now, TPC Boston and Liberty National will be alternating. Northern Trust will sponsor at TPC Boston in 2020.

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Danny Willett spotted with new Odyssey prototype putter, putter shaft

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You may have seen Danny Willett’s name near the top of the leaderboard at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. At 10 under, the Englishman sits one stroke behind fellow countryman Matt Wallace.

You may not have seen, however, that the 2016 Masters champ has a new Odyssey prototype putter in the bag.

(Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

(Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

All the company would say

“Willett first put in his new gamer last week at the Nedbank Challenge. Willett’s prototype putter also features a new prototype Odyssey shaft to help improve the consistency of the putting stroke.”

Willet has historically favored his blade-style Odyssey O-Works #1 W. More recently, at the Turkish Airlines Open, we spotted him with an Odyssey Versa Jailbird Black. However, the prototype in question is clearly a heel-shafted mallet with a different insert than the 1 W or the Jailbird. The insert looks to be the White Hot Microhinge. Obviously, the two-tone, potentially multi-material, shaft, and the technology therein, is notable as well. Also apparently two-tone, the putter head, which looks similar in shape to a Tank Cruiser and similarly has a pair of sole weights.

Do we need the TG2 to break down the few photos we have like the Zapruder film? We’ll continue digging, in the meantime, let us know what you think, GolfWRX Members!

 

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McIlroy snaps back at McGinley criticism: “Next year, I’m looking out for me”

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Earlier this week, Rory McIlroy suggested that he would leave the European Tour in 2019 which produced criticism from Irish golfer and analyst Paul McGinley, who called the decision “extraordinary” and “hard to understand.”

McIlroy, who is currently in action at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, indicated before the event that he would only play in two “pure” European Tour events next year. When told about McGinley’s negative reaction to the news on Thursday, McIlroy hit back in unrepentant style. The 29-year-old defiantly expressed how 2019 will be the year he puts himself first in a bid to end a major drought dating back to 2014, while also suggesting that just like himself, McGinley has his own interests in mind.

“McGinley is on the European Tour board. He’s involved and he has to protect what he has, and I get it. Everyone has to do what’s best for them and for me next year I’m trying to do what’s best for me to help get back to the best player in the world and try to win majors again.”

Should McIlroy decide not to renew his European Tour membership for 2019, he would be unable to captain his continent in future Ryder Cup’s, due to a European Tour rule introduced last year. When asked about his thoughts on that particular issue, McIlroy appeared to show no concern, bluntly replying: “It’s 20 years away”.

McIlroy confirmed that he had met with European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley in South Africa last week to brief him on his plans for 2019. But while the move to quit the European Tour looks increasingly likely, McIlroy was not ready to drop any bombshells in Dubai, and even poked fun at the controversy, stating

“Geez, I’d cause all the stirs in the world if I go back to winning majors. Next year I am looking out for me. At the same time, I don’t have to make a decision on it. I didn’t say it was a definite. It is up in the air. We’ll see how it goes.”

McIlroy has until next May to decide whether or not to renew his European Tour membership for 2019.

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GolfWRX Morning 9: McIlroy: Looking out for No. 1 | Ogilvy: Aus. Open is “second class” | Hole-in-one: yardage unknown

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By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com)

November 16, 2018

Good Friday morning, golf fans.
1. Kuch Down Under + player doesn’t know hole distance, makes hole-in-one anyway, wins $17K watch
Matt Kuchar went, “from Hola to Aloha,” at the Mayakoba Classic, to continuing his strong form some 9,000 miles away at the Australian Open.
  • Aus. Associated Press…”South Korea’s Byeong Hun An has sensationally reclaimed the Australian Open lead with a hole-in-one late in his second round.”
  • “Starting Friday with the lead at The Lakes, An watched as American Matt Kuchar and Australian amateur David Micheluzzi entered the clubhouse at seven under par after playing in the morning wave.”
  • “But An shot back to the top of the leaderboard with an ace at the 197m par-3 15th that rocketed the former US Amateur champion to eight under.”
  • “Hit it good, nice fading back to the hole and went in. This is my third one but first with a prize,” the smiling Korean said after earning himself a $17,000 Swiss watch. “It was a soft seven iron. I didn’t even know the distance. My caddie just said to hit seven iron and take five (metres) off.”
2. …of course, also on the subject of the Australian Open…
Geoff Ogilvy, one of the most eloquent and outspoken major winners from Australia had some strong words about the state of his national open.
  • Golfweek’s Kevin Casey on Ogilvy’s remarks’…”Unfortunately, the Australian Open appears to be stuck in a bit of a rut. Tiger Woods has participated in the event and past winners include Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Tom Watson, Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth.”
  • “But in this week’s edition, Scott, Jason Day and Marc Leishman are famous countrymen who have decided not to be a part of the field.”
  • “It signals the continuing issues the event has with getting the strong fields it used to. And Aussies can’t help but take notice.”
  • “I hate to say this, but the Australian Open feels like a second-rate tournament now,” Geoff Ogilvy said, per Golfmagic.com. “I’m sure it is run in the same way it was 30 years ago, but tournaments elsewhere have progressed so much, and the differences show.” [NOTE: Golfmagic.com pulled from Ogilvy’s exclusive column for Golf Australia]
3. Meanwhile, in Dubai…
The official game story from EuropeanTour.com…”Jordan Smith and Adrian Otaegui shared the lead after day one of the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai as Francesco Molinari tightened his grip on the European Tour’s season-long crown.”
  • “Smith and Otaegui carded rounds of 66 at Jumeirah Golf Estates to sit at six under, one shot clear of defending champion Jon Rahm and Major Championship winner Danny Willett….Italian Molinari knows a tie for fifth with one other or better will secure him the Race to Dubai title and he was just a shot further back after a 68 on the Earth Course.”
  • Defending champion Tommy Fleetwood needs a victory at the eighth and final Rolex Series event of the season to have any chance of denying Molinari, and the Englishman was three shots off the lead after a 69.

Full piece.

4. And at Sea Island…
Unofficially, a Titleist man now, Chucky Three Sticks got off to a stellar start at Sea Island.
PGATour.com’s Sean Martin…”Charles Howell III knew he needed to take advantage of Thursday’s tee time on Sea Island’s Plantation Course.”
  • “It was cold and windy during the first round of The RSM Classic. The inland Plantation Course, with its tree-lined fairways, protected players from the worst of the weather, though. Plantation played nearly a stroke under par Thursday, while players averaged more than one stroke over par on the Sea Island Resort’s Seaside Course.”
  • “Howell lowered Plantation’s scoring average even more with an 8-under 64 that gave him a two-shot lead after The RSM Classic’s first-round lead…He hit every fairway and every green for the first time in his career. It was the seventh time he hit all 18 greens in a single round.”
  • “I think sometimes playing these difficult conditions it forces you to stay a bit more present, it forces you to stay kind of in the moment a bit,” he said. “It’s hard to get too far ahead of yourself because of the difficulty of every shot coming.”
5. Closing stretch of the Race
Ron Sirak…”Nothing like the prospect of winning $1 million to mess up your mind a wee bit. In the final Race to the CME Globe before the CME Group Tour Championship changes its format, the five players who can win the bonus by winning here find themselves looking up at Amy Olson with Nasa Hataoka having the best view.”
  • “Olson blistered Tiburón Golf Club for a nine-under-par 63 in Thursday’s first round of the LPGA’s season-ending event while Hataoka, one of the five with one hand on the bonus, was a stroke back along with Brittany Lincicome after a birdie barrage on a Tiburón course softened by early morning rain.”
  • “The 63 by Olson, who teed off in a drizzle in the second group, was one off the tournament course record by Lydia Ko in 2016. Hataoka nearly matched her, making eight birdies, including the final two holes, while Lincicome would have shared the lead if not for a bogey on the final hole. Lexi Thompson is at 65 with Carlota Ciganda at 66 and Lindy Duncan and Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras at 67.”
6. McIlroy: “I’m doing Me-Ilroy”
Well, that’s not exactly what the Ulsterman said, but essentially…
  • And while he’ll attract criticism, rightly or wrongly, it’s worth noting the extreme degree of selfishness required to be the best (perhaps something McIlroy has been questioned for not having in the past). If one wants to be the best golfer in the world, prep for and peak at majors, playing the vast majority of one’s golf on the PGA Tour is the only route. With all due respect to Justin Thomas, it is the route nearly ever recent No. 1 has taken. And Rory should act differently because he is…from Northern Ireland? What sense does that make?
  • Via Alistair Tait at Golfweek...”Everyone has to look out for themselves and next year I’m looking out for me,” McIlroy said. “At the same time, I don’t have to make a decision on it.”
  • “I didn’t say that it was a definite. It’s up in the air. I don’t have to make a decision till May. We’ll see how it goes. McGinley is on the European Tour board, he’s involved and he has to protect what he has and I get it.
  • “Everyone has to do what’s best for them and, for me next year, I’m trying to do what’s best for me to help get back to the best player in the world and try to win majors again.”
7. Rounding out the lineup
The steady drip of details/stuff they’ve just figured out continues with the announcement of the, well, announcers.
  • Golfworld’s Stephen Hennessey...”Tiger’s buddy Charles Barkley, along with Samuel L. Jackson, will work as special guests of the pre-match coverage, and they’ll also contribute during select moments of the actual competition, according to event organizers. Long-time TNT Sports anchor Ernie Johnson will provide the play-by-play, and Peter Jacobson and Darren Clarke will offer their analysis as color commentators.”
  • “Current PGA Tour pro Pat Perez, who like Mickelson and Woods grew up in California and competed against Tiger as a junior golfer, will also join the pre-match coverage with Bleacher Report’s Adam Lefkoe. LPGA star Natalie Gulbis and FOX Sports reporter Shane Bacon will provide reports from inside the ropes.”

Full piece.

8. Inside Kuch’s switcharoo
I talked with a few of Bridgestone’s ball wonks about staffer Matt Kuchar’s ball switch ahead of his Mayakoba win.
  • One of those changes: his golf ball. Now, given Kuch’s club head speed last year – 107.97 mph (183rd on Tour) – your wouldn’t have thought the happy warrior would  switch to a lower-spinning golf ball. However, that’s just what he did, making the move from Bridgestone’s Tour B XS to its Tour B X. And according to the company, he did so after a recent fitting session in which he was driving the X seven yards farther than the XS.
  • I had a chance to ask , and Adam Rehberg, the company’s Golf Ball Fitting Manager, about the switch.
  • So, what was the thinking/data that had Matt Kuchar playing the XS originally?…Elliot Mellow, Bridgestone’s Golf Ball Marketing Manager: “Matt had historically been in our higher spin spec – he appreciated the spin control into and around the green. For years, the B330-S and then the Tour B XS, allowed Matt to hit his windows and optimize trajectory. As he started to reevaluate his fit, there were really two things in play here that allowed the door to be opened for Matt to explore a more distance spec ball: Over the years, we have continued to soften the covers of all Tour balls. So in our distance spec, the Tour B X, you really don’t sacrifice spin for distance, it still is a great spin control ball with irons and wedges. The other thing to consider is some of the club set-ups for Matt have changed, which allowed us to reevaluate his fit.”
9. Debating the left-foot flare
For something a little different, here’s a piece from our Rod Lidenberg that we published late yesterday. Lidenberg debates the merits of the flared left foot at address (ala Ben Hogan’s suggestions). Needless to say, it’s awakening a strong response from the GolfWRX readership.
  • A taste of Ron’s argument...”The subject of this piece is not to debate Hogan’s hip action but the piece that accompanied it, the 15-degree flare of the left foot. I’m of the opinion that it is not only wrong. Because of its toxic nature, it is DEAD WRONG.  The reason has to do with the tailbone, which determines the motion of the hips in the swing. The more the left foot opens up at address, the more the tailbone angles backward. That encourages the hips to “spin out” in the downswing, which means they have turned before the player’s weight has been allowed to move forward to their left foot and left knee.”
  • “As a consequence of the hips spinning out, players move their weight backward (toward the right foot), encouraging a swing that works out-to-in across the body. You can see this swing played out on the first tee of any public golf course on a Saturday morning.”
  • “The problem with the 15-degree foot flare is that it promotes, if not guarantees, the following swing issues:…In the backswing, the flared left foot: 1: Discourages a full left- hip turn. 2: Encourages the improper motion of the left-knee outward rather than back. 3: Reduces the degree that the torso can turn because of the restrictions placed on the left hip.”
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