The 2018-2019 European Tour schedule offered some surprising changes -- and, in one case, a lack of change -- when it was unveiled before the Turkish Airlines Open, ahead of the tour's final three events.
Perhaps the biggest changes to the European Tour schedule were already known.
The BMW PGA Championship, the tour's flagship event (at least as far as the Official World Golf Ranking is concerned), is moving from May to September in response to the PGA of America moving the PGA Championship from August to May.
The Vic Open in Australia forms an Aussie swing with the ISPS Handa Super 6 Perth for the first time since 2004, with the AUD $3 million event splitting an equal purse with the European Tour event and a Ladies European Tour event unfolding at the same time on the same course.
The South African Open and Joburg Open have combined into a single event, moving to Johannesburg -- site of the Joburg Open -- and taking on the Joburg Open's massive 240-player field. The tournament will be tri-sanctioned with the Sunshine Tour and Asian Tour. The Alfred Dunhill Championship also returns to keep a South African swing healthy.
But there are some other changes to the schedule which are equally important:
- The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship is increasing its purse from $3 million to $7 million to become the first Rolex Series event of the year.
- The British Masters has been saved, and Tommy Fleetwood will host the 2019 edition at Hillside Golf Club in England. It is a venue historic for the European Tour, as it hosted the Piccadilly Metal in the tour's maiden season in 1972. The British Masters is moving to May, slotting in where the BMW Championship could once have expected to be played.
- The French Open is exiting the Rolex Series and moving from July to October.
- The Andalucia Valderrama Masters is moving from October to June. The Spanish Open moves from April to October, perhaps to buy time for a sponsor.
- The Made in Denmark is moving from late August to May.
- GolfSixes is coming back for a third year, but it will be played in Portugal this year instead of England.
- The Kenya Open, which has long been a staple of the developmental Challenge Tour, is moving up to the full European Tour schedule and will be played in March opposite The Players Championship on the PGA Tour -- effectively making it an opposite-field event.
- The Qatar Masters is staying, which is a surprise as the tournament was thought to be exiting the schedule.
- The Shot Clock Masters (now Challenge) is coming back, but the details aren't fleshed out at this point.
- Leaving the schedule are the Tshwane Open; the Rocco Forte Sicilian Open, which had one of the most beautiful venues on tour; and the opposite-field Fiji International.
2018-2019 European Tour schedule
- 11/22-11/25 -- Honma Hong Kong Open, Hong Kong GC, Fanling, Hong Kong
- 11/29-12/2 -- Australian PGA Championship, RACV Royal Pines Resort, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
- 11/29-12/2 -- Afrasia Bank Mauritius Open, Four Seasons GC Mauritius at Anahita, Beau Champ, Mauritius
- 12/6-12/9 -- South African Open, Randpark Golf Club, Johannesburg, South Africa
- 12/13-12/16 -- Alfred Dunhill Championship, Leopard Creek CC, Malelane, South Africa
- 1/16-1/19 -- Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, Abu Dhabi GC, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
- 1/24-1/27 -- Omega Dubai Desert Classic, Emirates GC, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- 1/31-2/3 -- Saudi International, Royal Greens G&CC, King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia
- 2/7-2/10 -- Vic Open, 13th Beach GC, Geelong, Victoria, Australia
- 2/14-2/17 -- ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth, Lake Karrinyup CC, Perth, Australia
- 2/21-2/24 -- WGC-Mexico Championship, Chapultepec GC, Mexico City, Mexico
- 2/28-3/03 -- Oman Open, Al Mouj Golf, Muscat, Oman
- 3/7-3/10 -- Qatar Masters, Doha GC, Doha, Qatar
- 3/14-3/17 -- Kenya Open, Karen CC, Nairobi, Kenya
- 3/21-3/24 -- Maybank Championship, Saujana G&CC, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- 3/27-3/30 -- WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Austin CC, Austin, Texas, USA
- 3/28-3/31 -- Hero Indian Open, DLF G&CC, New Delhi, India
- 4/11-4/14 -- Masters Tournament, Augusta National GC, Augusta, Georgia, USA
- 4/25-4/28 -- Trophee Hassan II, Royal Golf Dar Es Salam, Rabat, Morocco
- 5/2-5/5 -- Volvo China Open, The Tradition at Wolong Valley, Chengdu, China PR
- 5/9-5/12 -- British Masters hosted by Tommy Fleetwood, Hillside GC, Southport, Merseyside, England
- 5/16-5/19 -- PGA Championship, Bethpage State Park BK Course, Bethpage, New York, USA
- 5/23-5/26 -- Made in Denmark, Himmerland Golf & Spa Resort, Farsø, Denmark
- 5/30-6/2 -- Belgian Knockout, Rinkven International GC, Antwerp, Belgium
- 6/8-6/11 -- GolfSixes, TBD, Portugal
- 6/13-6/16 -- US OPEN, Pebble Beach Golf Links, Pebble Beach, California, USA
- 6/20-6/23 -- BMW International Open, Golfclub München Eichenried, Munich, Germany
- 6/27-6/30 -- Andalucia Valderrama Masters, Real Club Valderrama, Sotogrande, Spain
- 7/4-7/7 -- Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, Lahinch GC, Lahinch, Co. Clare, Republic of Ireland
- 7/11-7/14 -- Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open, The Renaissance Club, North Berwick, Scotland
- 7/18-7/21 -- The Open Championship, Royal Portrush GC, Portrush, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
- 7/25-7/28 -- WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, TPC Southwind, Memphis, Tennessee, USA
- 8/1-8/4 -- TBD
- 8/8-8/11 -- Shot Clock Challenge, TBD
- 8/15-8/18 -- D+D Real Czech Masters, Albatross Golf Resort, Prague, Czech Republic
- 8/22-8/25 -- Scandinavian Invitation, Hills Golf & Sports Club, Gothenburg, Sweden
- 8/29-9/01 -- Omega European Masters, Crans-sur-Sierre GC, Crans Montana, Switzerland
- 9/5-9/8 -- Porsche European Open, Green Eagle Golf Courses, Hamburg, Germany
- 9/12-9/15 -- KLM Open, The International, Amsterdam, Netherlands
- 9/19-9/22 -- BMW PGA Championship, Wentworth Golf Club, Virginia Water, Surrey, England
- 9/26-9/29 -- Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, Old Course St. Andrews, Carnoustie & Kingsbarns, Scotland, Scotland
- 10/3-10/6 -- Open de Espana, TBD, Spain
- 10/10-10/13 -- Italian Open, Olgiata GC, Rome, Italy
- 10/17-10/20 -- Open de France, Le Golf National, Paris, France
- 10/24-10/27 -- Portugal Masters, Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course, Vilamoura, Portugal
- 10/31-11/3 -- WGC-HSBC Champions, Sheshan International GC, Shanghai, China
- 11/7-11/10 -- Turkish Airlines Open, TBD, Turkey
- 11/14-11/17 -- Nedbank Golf Challenge, Gary Player CC, Sun City, South Africa
- 11/21-11/24 -- DP World Tour Championship, Jumeirah Golf Estates, Dubai, United Arab Emirates