Tour releases Olympics-jumbled 2015-16 schedule

By Rex HoggardJuly 30, 2015, 3:30 pm

GAINESVILLE, Va. – The PGA Tour released its 2015-16 schedule on Thursday and, as previously reported, it is a crowded and condensed lineup thanks to golf’s return to the Olympic Games next August.

The 47-event schedule is largely unchanged through the U.S. Open, with the WGC-Dell Match Play's move to late March just two weeks before the Masters as the most notable exception.

The major shakeup will come late in the season as officials were forced to dramatically rework the schedule to make room for the Olympics, which will be played in Brazil the second week of August.

“It’s important from a worldwide standpoint, and I think it’s important to the game of golf that we work around the Olympics because it’s only once every four years,” said Jason Bohn, one of four player directors on the policy board which met on Monday at the Quicken Loans National.

The Open Championship will be played July 14-17 at Royal Troon followed two weeks later by the PGA Championship, July 28-31.

The Quicken Loans National will move to the week after the U.S. Open in late June, followed by the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, which is normally played the week before the PGA.

The Travelers Championship and John Deere Classic will undergo the biggest moves, shifting to the first two weeks of August.

“When we started talking about this to the Tour, everybody bought in that the Olympics were going to grow the game and everybody was on the same page,” Travelers Championship tournament director Nathan Grube said.

The move actually worked in Grube’s favor, as TPC River Highlands implements a series of “major enhancements” starting this fall. The new date will allow officials time to assure the enhancements are completed for next season’s event.

“We thought for one year this could be an OK thing to make sure the course was done and everybody was fine with it,” said Grube, who anticipates moving back to the tournament’s traditional date, the third week in June, after 2016. “I think the Tour will learn a lot about the schedule.”

The transition for the John Deere Classic will not be as seamless, with the event moving from the week before the Open Championship to the same week as the men’s tournament in Rio (Aug. 11-14).

“We feel like we’ve had challenging dates over the 45-year history of our event, but the community has always supported it and we stand proud behind our product,” said tournament director Clair Peterson.

The Olympic field will include 60 players but will likely be top-heavy with star players. Current projections indicate that nearly half of the field will be made up of players ranked outside the top 100 in the World Golf Ranking.

“With only four of our American players playing and, to be honest, I don’t know how many Tour players will be in the [Olympic] field, I don’t know how much that will deter a field," Bohn said. "That would be the ultimate concern if I was the tournament director, but I don’t think it will diminish anything.”

The biggest exception to that will likely be Jordan Spieth, who won this year’s John Deere Classic but appears to be a lock to play for the United States in Rio.

“We expect him to be at the Olympics in 2016, and we are excited for him, and the chance to win a gold medal for your country is something you don’t [often] get a chance to do,” Peterson said.

The FedEx Cup playoffs will follow a similar schedule but the Tour did move the normal open date to the week after the BMW Championship. This year’s open date falls the week after the Deutsche Bank Championship.

The Tour Championship and Ryder Cup, which will be held at Hazeltine National in Minnesota, will be played in consecutive weeks in late September.

The full schedule appears below:

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Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

Memo to the golf gods:

If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.


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Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

"I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

"I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x