ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – This year’s world schedule, particularly in the weeks leading up to the Olympic Games, has become a hot topic among players who will face a grueling few weeks to finish the season.
“Basically the U.S. Open until the Ryder Cup, it's week on, week off, week on, week off, week on, week off, and you've got the FedEx Cup and the Ryder Cup after that,” Rory McIlroy said on Wednesday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
During that timeframe, from June’s U.S. Open through to the Ryder Cup in early October, top players will need to find room on their dance cards for 10 “must play” events in a 16-week stretch that includes two majors (the Open Championship and PGA Championship) in three weeks.
For players like McIlroy and Jordan Spieth that means preparing for the hectic end of the year by pacing themselves early.
“I'm looking into late spring, looking at potential breaks to try and almost re-set and get ready, because once we hit the U.S. Open, it's just absolutely crazy through the Ryder Cup,” said Spieth, who is making his first start in the European Tour’s desert swing this week.
“If I continue the pace I've been going at, I doubt I'll have strength then. So I'm going to need to make some adjustments.”
Where those “adjustments” may come remains to be seen, with Spieth’s upcoming schedule including starts next week at the Singapore Open, followed by the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, Northern Trust Open, Valspar Championship and the year’s first two World Golf Championships (although he has not committed to either).
One thing is for certain: After the Ryder Cup, the golf world shouldn’t expect to see the game’s best for a few weeks.
“I'd say it will be a fairly quiet October in golf at the highest level. I think a lot of guys will take some time off after that,” McIlroy said.