As we contemplated the relaunch of Work Hangover, there were several questions we debated – how much can we sell WH for to a venture capital firm? Do we have a functional computer? Should we just google – how to start a webpage? And finally, what exactly would we write about without sports, you know, taking place?
Most of those questions were easy to answer (in negotiations so can’t talk about it, yes if we don’t lose our other job, Yes). But the content question was a bit more complex. So, we made a list of ideas for posts. One of the first things on the list was “How to Revise the Golf Calendar.”
So, we set to work to do just that. For weeks, we’ve pored over the schedule, TV contracts, sponsorship agreements, travel schedules for the players, revenue sharing models for tournaments that don’t get to host this year. It was impressive. We had planned to release it this week, but the PGA Tour in all their arrogance must have heard what we were doing and beat us to the punch. So, sadly, the world will never see the way the schedule should have been revised. Instead, you just get our reactions to what the PGA Tour Schedule will (hopefully) look like moving forward.
There are still several tournaments scheduled for these months – the Colonial and the Memorial among the most prominent. In case you didn’t study the schedule, but the US Open moved from June to September. If they aren’t playing the US freakin Open, they aren’t playing the Rocket Mortgage Classic (sorry Detroit). There are some open dates later in the calendar, and if any of these tournaments gets moved, it’ll be the Memorial. Jack Nicklaus is kind of a big deal.
The FedEx St. Jude Classic is scheduled for July 2-5 in Memphis. This tournament is one of the World Golf Championships that typically would have been played in August but was moved back to accommodate the Olympics. Well, with the Olympics postponed a year, our bet is this tournament moves to the July 30-August 2 window. Why? It is sponsored by FedEx, who also happens to sponsor a little something called the FedEx Cup – otherwise known as the PGA Tour’s playoffs. If Tim Monaghan likes his job, this tournament will get played. Plus, more importantly, the tournament benefits St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and that’s about the best story of philanthropy the Tour has so they’ll do everything they can to keep it. But yeah, FedEx gives the Tour a crap load of money, so that’s the real reason this tournament will happen.
One of the open dates in the calendar is July 16-19, which is when the Open Championship at Royal St. George was supposed to take place. The R&A has decided to postpone this for one year. This is a huge bummer for a couple reasons but the biggest of which is it means the Open at St. Andrews is pushed back to 2022. On surface, so what, right? Well, the final round of the 150th Open was set to be played on the 40th anniversary of the birth of Work Hangover’s founder at St. Andrews, and the founder was going to take the whole company to Scotland to celebrate. Alas.
This is when it gets good. If you include my projected move of the FedEx St. Jude tournament, you’d have that tournament, the PGA Championship, the Wyndham Championship, then the FedEx Cup Playoffs. That’s four great tournaments in 5 weeks (sorry Wyndham) and you’d have full fields of the top players every week. Well, except for Wyndham. Although, the Wyndham might get a better field than usual, as players who haven’t played much might need the points to get them set up for either the FedEx Cup or the Ryder Cup. Potentially even qualifying for US Open (we still don’t know how this will work). Plus, August looks to be a more realistic goal for when sports can start back up (right, Dr. Fauci? Right?!?), so people will be craving it. TV ratings bonanza. I was going to make a Tiger King joke here, but I don’t think we should make jokes at the expense of the two most influential golfers of all time. Unless it’s about driving into a fire hydrant hopped up on wine and pain killers while your (now ex) chases you with a nine-iron. Those jokes are totally appropriate and relevant. It’s 2008, right?
August might be better for sheer volume, but a September with the Tour Championship, the US Open and the Ryder Cup is, in the words of Borat, very nice. A US Open at Winged Foot followed by the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits is as good as it gets for golf fans. The 7-week stretch from the PGA Championship through the Ryder Cup has two majors, the Tour Championship, the FedEx Cup Playoffs, and the Ryder Cup. And the Wyndham. But what a time to be a golf fan. It will be fascinating to see how the top players manage their schedules. Someone like Tiger might only play the PGA, one playoff event and the Tour Championship if he qualifies, and then the US Open and Ryder Cup. Depending on how US Open qualifying works, Phil might be playing every tournament he can since he currently isn’t qualified. For the journeymen who play all the fall tournaments and rack up FedEx Cup points, this might work in their favor to qualify for the Tour Championship if hardly any other tournaments are being played between now and then. Looking at you, Brendon Todd, Lanto Griffin and Sebastian Munoz.
As best we can tell, there will be no golf in October. Or, maybe they start the 2020-2021 season, with some of the previously scheduled fall events, all of which will be put on pause as we get into November for…the Masters. In fact, our guess is that they will play those tournaments as the beginning of the next season, because enough pros who have qualified for the Masters will want some competitive rounds prior to the Masters. If you happen to be a pro who is in the Masters, but didn’t make the US Open, the Tour Championship or a Ryder Cup team, it would have been two months since you last played competitively. I’m guessing you show up at the Safeway Open.
The Masters. That’s right, the Masters will be taking place in November. While it won’t be the same without the blooming azaleas and birds chirping, we are so happy that the Masters will be taking place. And with the new schedule, we’ll get two Masters within 6 months of each other! There are so many fascinating questions with a November Masters – will the course play differently than in April? Will Tiger be able to activate his glutes in the cooler November weather? Will Brooks Koepka cancel his month at Vegas swimming pools to show up for the tournament? Will Jim Nantz be there or at an NFL game? Will CBS show the third round on Saturday or the Alabama vs. Tennessee-Martin game that day? Is pimiento cheese still in season in November? Can golfers wear white pants after Labor Day at Augusta? How about the white caddie overalls – they still good?
In summary, you know what the best part about golf’s governing bodies releasing this new schedule? It allows us all to think about a happier time when sports are being played. Even if you don’t care for golf, if these tournaments are being played, it means all the other sports you do care about are being played. So, for a moment in time, we can daydream about Phil’s ultimate redemption of winning the US Open at age 50 at Winged Foot, the site of his biggest miss at the one major he hasn’t yet won. Maybe Rory can exorcise his Augusta demons, as he typically plays better in the fall than in the spring. Or, and the best outcome for all us, this will give Work Hangover more time to get a credential to cover the Masters. See you there, Nantz!