New PGA Tour schedule boosts hopes for regular event in Australia

US PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has left the door open for a regular event to be held in Australia in the near future, with the 2019 schedule confirming an earlier end to the American golf season.

On Tuesday, the US Tour announced a new-look schedule for the 2018-19 season, with significant changes including a reduction from 48 tournaments to 46 and a late August finale courtesy of the lucrative FedEx Cup playoffs dropping from four events to three.

It comes on the back of the announcement the US PGA Championship will move from August to May starting next year, while the Players Championship will revert to a March date.

While two new events in Detroit, Michigan and Minnesota will be bookended by the US and British Opens, other tweaks recently revealed include the Canadian Open securing the pre-US Open slot and the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational moving from Ohio to Memphis, Tennessee.

"By concluding at the end of August, the FedEx Cup playoffs no longer have the challenge of sharing the stage with college and professional football (NFL)," Monahan said.

The Australian summer of golf is also set to benefit from the new schedule in years to come, with additional time in the autumn swing (September to December) of the wraparound US season offering the potential to stage a tournament down under.

"Yeah, I think that there is (potential)," Monahan said.

"In the longer term, certainly they are some of the things that we might talk about but I stress, longer term.

"It's the goal of the (US Tour) to have more tournaments in Australia, to generate more corporate support and to grow the game in Australia."

A financial backer is currently the biggest obstacle – a title sponsor would likely need to stump up a tournament prize purse between $US7 million ($A8.9 million) and $US10 million ($A12.7 million).

Perhaps Australia's best shot at securing an official US tour event is to slot into the Tour's Asia swing in October – when events take place in Malaysia, Korea and China.

For now, though, Monahan says the US Tour is servicing the Australian market as best it can with this year's golf World Cup and the 2019 Presidents Cup to be held in Melbourne.

"We've got two big events that will be in Australia and we will always have a presence in Australia; it's an important market to the PGA Tour and to the game," Monahan said.

In March, the US Tour and PGA Tour of Australasia signed an agreement to strengthen tournament golf in Australia.


Source: Read Full Article