Tour piecing together schedule during Olympic year


DUBLIN, Ohio – The annual chess game that is the PGA Tour schedule is proving to be particularly challenging for officials as the circuit inches closer to the 2015-16 season.

“Complicated? Yes,” Tour commissioner Tim Finchem smiled when asked about next season’s lineup on Wednesday at the Memorial.

While most of the pieces have already fallen into place for the first half of the season, including the WGC-Dell Match Play’s move to March two weeks before the Masters and the Wells Fargo Championship’s switch back to the week before The Players in May, the closing stretch is still a work in progress.

Because of the Olympic Games that will be played in Brazil in early August, officials had to dramatically adjust the schedule including shifting the PGA Championship to the last week of July, two weeks earlier than normal and just two weeks after the Open Championship.

After the PGA, there are three weeks before the start of the FedEx Cup playoffs and Finchem said there will likely be a Tour event – various sources say it will be the John Deere Classic – played the same week as the men’s tournament in Rio.

“There are still a couple of pieces in the ’16 schedule that need to be nailed down,” Finchem said. “Depending on how the overall communication package transpires for that week it’s not all that bad. Everybody has a tendency to say, ‘Well, the top players are down [at the Olympics].’ Maybe four of them from the U.S., so there are a lot of players left.”

The Wyndham Championship will follow the Games, Aug. 18-21, and lead into the playoffs, which will include two events (The Barclays and Deutsche Bank Championship) followed by an off week and then the final two post-season starts (BMW Championship and Tour Championship).

Although the Ryder Cup is scheduled to be played the week after the Tour finale at East Lake, Finchem said the off week will likely remain in the middle of the playoffs and not after the Tour Championship.

“Getting the break, there are 12 guys who are going to be headed to the Ryder Cup and they will have a break and then Atlanta,” he said. “They are playing the Ryder Cup in the U.S., so it’s an hour, hour-and-a-half flight, so we don’t think it’s a huge problem.”