The PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup has been around for a decade, and it’s done a great job in creating a logical end to the season, complete with a massive payday for a season-long champion and four closing events with elite fields.
However, the FedEx Cup playoffs and the PGA Tour season end in late September, weeks into both college football and NFL seasons. By then, golf is on the back burner for sports fans, meaning the audience for the playoffs isn’t nearly as big as it could be.
The PGA Tour seems to have realized this, with chatter at the Tour Championship last September about the possibility of ending the playoffs before Labor Day. Bumping up the FedEx Cup playoffs would have wide-reaching impact on the PGA Tour schedule, including the possibility of moving The Players Championship back to March and slotting the PGA Championship, run by the PGA of America, into May from its now-traditional August spot.
New PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, who took over on Jan. 1 for the retiring Tim Finchem, seems ready to pursue this change.
“That’s certainly something that we would like to see happen,” Monahan said to the Wall St. Journal. “Having big events every month, culminating in the FedEx Cup playoffs in August prior to the NFL season, that would be a very powerful schedule.”
Of course, the change would require the co-operation of the PGA of America, who would have to cede that August spotlight while losing some of the northeastern and Midwestern courses that it goes to with its biggest championship. While May might open the door to other venues in the southern half of the country, that may not be the right payoff to gain some additional prestige in being the second major instead of the erstwhile Glory’s Last Shot.
Such a change probably wouldn’t take shape until 2019, Monahan suggested. That would come in time for 2020, however, when golf returns to the Olympics and the sport needs to alter its schedule again to accommodate the gold-medal competition.