When it comes to the new PGA Tour schedule for the rest of 2020 in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, there are two big questions. The first is, “What will it look like?” and the second is, “How will it affect Tiger Woods?”
We have our answer on the first question as of Thursday. The PGA Tourand a torrid opening to the 2020-21 season. It all starts on June 11 with the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club. From there until the start of December, there are more majors (two) than weeks off (one).
With a wonky last half of the year, everyone’s rhythm will be in flux. If you catch a heater at the proper time, you could feasibly rip off two or three majors in a 12-month stretch from August 2020 to August 2021 and it wouldn’t seem preposterous. There will be a cost though. Golfers — after months off — will be playing a lot.
This is both good and bad news. For younger players like Justin Thomas, Viktor Hovland and Sungjae Im, this could be a good thing. I could see Thomas winning four times in 11 weeks like it was not a big deal at all. For older golfers with nagging injuries — like the Big Cat who would have missed a month and a half to get his body right going into the Masters in April (if it had happened) — it could pose more problems.
So with the new schedule set (for now), here’s where I think Woods will play.
2019-20 PGA Tour schedule (revised)
- June 11-14: Charles Schwab Challenge — No
- June 18-21: RBC Heritage — No
- June 25-28: Travelers Championship — Maybe
- July 2-5: Rocket Mortgage Classic — No
- July 9-12: John Deere Classic — No
- July 16-19: The Memorial Tournament — Yes
- July 23-26: 3M Open — No
- July 29-Aug. 2: WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational — Maybe
- July 29-Aug. 2: Barracuda Championship — No
- Aug. 6-9: PGA Championship — Yes
- Aug. 13-16: Wyndham Championship — No
- Aug. 20-23: The Northern Trust — No
- Aug. 27-30: BMW Championship — Yes
- Sept. 4-7: Tour Championship — Maybe (if qualified)
I don’t think Woods will rush back. Everything for him will be about prepping for the PGA Championship and the Masters. He won’t be in a hurry just because he’s been playing Call of Duty and doing puzzles with his kids for three months. The Travelers would be a good re-entry point. It’s a top-notch regular event and normally has a stellar field. It would be a good distance from the Memorial, which he’ll almost certainly play if he’s healthy and help him start to ramp back up for the PGA in August.
The WGC in Memphis the week before the PGA seems like it would be another good spot — and it will be warm enough that he won’t have to worry a ton about the body — but it’s also tough to see him going two weeks in a row. He rarely plays a major as the second part of a back-to-back. Load management and all. However, these are strange times, and if he doesn’t play Memphis, he will have played just eight rounds in six months (if he plays Memorial and Travelers) leading into the PGA.
The FedEx Cup Playoffs will be weird. I think Woods skips the first event and doesn’t push it to get to the Tour Championship. Not with the PGA Championship so close in the rearview and the U.S. Open on deck a few weeks later. If it happens it happens, but he’s currently 28th and will likely be passed between now and then by golfers who are playing more.
2020-21 PGA Tour schedule (fall)
- Sept. 10-13: Safeway Open — No
- Sept. 17-20: U.S. Open — Yes
- Sept. 24-27: Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship — No
- Sept. 25-27: Ryder Cup — Yes
- Oct. 1-4: Sanderson Farms Championship — No
- Oct. 8-11: Shriners Hospitals for Children Open — No
- Oct. 15-18: CJ Cup — No
- Oct. 22-25: Zozo Championship — Yes
- Oct. 29-Nov. 1: WGC-HSBC Champions — No
- Oct. 29-Nov. 1: Bermuda Championship — No
- Nov. 5-8: Houston Open — No
- Nov. 12-15: Masters — Yes
- Nov. 19-22: RSM Classic — No
- Dec. 3-6: Mayakoba Golf Classic — No
This part of the schedule seems more straightforward. The Zozo Championship is a good halfway point between the Ryder Cup and the Masters, and he’s the defending champion at both the Zozo and Augusta. By this point, he shouldn’t need a ton of reps for Augusta, and taking two weeks off before defending his green jacket would be perfect.
This could all obviously change in a hurry. Woods — who noted that he would have been good to go for the Masters in April had it been played — might need extra rest, or some of these events might be delayed or canceled altogether. But as of today — the day the Tour announced its new schedule — Woods playing eight times the rest of the year (with four maybes) seems like a reasonable proposition.