For the second year in a row, the Farmers Insurance Open -- the PGA Tour's annual stop at Torrey Pines Golf Courses near San Diego -- is ending on a Saturday.
Golf tournaments typically end on Sundays, and so it's been a confusing adjustment for a lot of fans. However, there are a couple of good reasons why the event has shifted to a Wednesday through Saturday schedule instead of the traditional Thursday through Sunday docket.
The most obvious reason for the Farmers Insurance Open to move its schedule is the reality of what else is happening this weekend. The NFL presents its two conference championship games on Sunday, with the AFC and NFC title games scheduled back-to-back. The first game, featuring the San Francisco 49ers at the Philadelphia Eagles, starts at 3 p.m. Eastern, while the AFC title contest is right after at 6:30 p.m.
The audience for those two games will be enormous and will take up the attention a huge swath of the American television audience on Sunday. Between pre-game shows and prepping to watch the games, there's really not much room for other programming to break through and reach a strong audience. Instead of competing with the NFL, then, it makes more sense for the Farmers Insurance Open to close on Saturday, when there's no football of any kind.
There's a second reason, though, for the move to a Saturday finish at Torrey Pines. Farmers Insurance has long been a sponsor and supporter of the Advocates PGA Tour, which is a developmental circuit that provides opportunities to play in high-quality events for cohorts that have long been under-represented in golf, including the African-American and Latino communities.
As part of moving to the Farmers Insurance Open to a Saturday finish, Farmers Insurance has sponsored a concurrent APGA Tour event that ends on Sunday on the South Course at Torrey Pines. The first round of the 36-hole event is on the North Course on Saturday, giving an opportunity for fans already at Torrey Pines to take in the APGA Tour action while the PGA Tour wraps up on the South Course. Then on Sunday, Golf Channel airs the final round for a national audience to experience the APGA Tour for themselves.
All told, it's a win-win for everyone involved with the tournament switching to a Saturday finish.