Imagining a 52-week world golf tour
European Tour PGA Tour

Imagining a 52-week world golf tour


BY Michael Urann

The World Cup of Golf lacks some of (ok, all of) the gusto of it’s futbol counterpart.

So when Matt Kuchar said in a Australian Masters news conference that he believes a true world tour – from the Greg Norman idea that Tim Finchem outright stole – will come to pass during his playing days, only a few fans of the new wraparound tour schedule noticed.

The idea is almost laughable considering Kuchar’s partner for the World Cup, which features a purse of $8 million, is Kevin Streelman. Yes, the 20th ranked American in the world was the highest-ranked player Kuchar could convince to partner with him at one of the world’s great golf courses, Royal Melbourne. So it seems far-fetched that a 52-week World Tour could attract even a modicum of the world’s best players regularly when the Tour’s best players are only playing 15-25 weeks each year.

RELATED: What a global tour might look like

However, it does pique the interest of a keen golf observer as to which of the current tournaments on every tour would survive a merger of all their current incarnations. It’s guesswork for sure but taking tradition, financial obligations and, most importantly, travel into consideration, it’s plausible to generate a realistic schedule that will, despite Kuchar’s sentiment, probably never happen.

Some ground rules for a World Tour schedule:

1) Travel is paramount. If possible there should never be less than four tournaments in a row played in a region. Attracting top players for one week and 5,000-plus mile travel is unrealistic.

2) Seasons must be considered. Even if we wanted to move the Masters to June, Augusta National closes it’s guard gate a few weeks after the green jacket ceremony until October. And you clearly can’t play the Scandinavian Masters in December unless you want to use orange balls and sled dogs as caddies.

3) Having the game played on every continent is important. There can be opposite-field events on different continents or in different time zones but the most year-end points must be awarded to the main field events to justify their existence.

4) We’re keeping a playoff format since both the PGA and European Tours are currently using one. Again, the only stipulation is that the World Tour events must have at least 150 percent the available points as opposite field events.

5) Because of the issue of seasons, a wraparound schedule is mandatory (unfortunately).

6) For the hell of it, the week after the PGA Championship and before the first playoff event, we’re putting on a two night Skills Challenge for network TV. Who wouldn’t want to see long drive, putting, short game and accuracy contests in primetime with the world’s best players? This location on the calendar is a welcome respite after the PGA and allows a weekend break before the playoffs (encouraging players to play all playoff events). Golf has to have its All Star Game Home Run Derby. This is it.

7) The portion of the schedule between the Ryder Cup and November 1 is the time to grow the game in South America and/or other regions. No points will be awarded but at least two sponsored Tour events should take place there.

8) Finally, the PGA Championship will now become a wandering major. The region and the events around it depend on the region that it’s played in, including the first playoff event.

Without further adieu, this is how the schedule would look beginning January 1, 2014

Dates Event Region
Jan. 9-12 Dubai Desert Classic Mid East
Jan. 16-19 Abu Dhabu Championship Mid East
Jan. 23-26 South African Open Sunshine
Jan. 30-Feb. 2 Dunhill Links Championship (SA) Sunshine
Feb. 6-9 Hawaiian Open N. America
Feb. 13-16 Los Angeles Open N. America
Feb. 20-23 Pebble Beach Pro Am N. America
Feb. 27-March 2 Phoenix Open N. America
March 6-9 THE PLAYERS N. America
March 13-16 Byron Nelson Classic N. America
March 20-23 Colonial Invitational N. America
March 27-30 Doral Open N. America
April 3-6 Arnold Palmer Classic N. America
April 10-13 U.S. Masters N. America
April 17-20 Match Play Championship N. America
April 24-27 Portugese Open Europe
May 1-4 Spanish Open Europe
May 8-11 French Open Europe
May 15-18 BMW Championship (UK) Europe
May 22-25 Canadian Open N. America
May 29-June 1 Quail Hollow Championship N. America
June 5-8 The Memorial N. America
June 12-15 U.S. Open N. America
June 19-24 Wash D.C. Invitational (AT&T) N. America
June 26-30 BMW International (DEUT) Europe
July 3-6 Irish Open Europe
July 10-13 Scottish Open Europe
July 17-20 The OPEN Championsship Europe
July 24-27 Scandanavian Masters Europe
July 31-Aug 3 Dutch Open Europe
Aug. 7-10 WGC (Formerly Firestone) Same as PGA
Aug. 14-17 PGA Championship Varous
Aug. 28-31 PLAYOFF EVENT #1 Same as PGA
Sept. 4-7 Boston/NYC PLAYOFF EVENT #2 N. America
Sept. 11-14 Midwest/West Coast PLAYOFF EVENT #3 N. America
Sept. 18-21 The TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP N. America
Oct. 2-5 Ryder Cup Varies
Oct. 9-12 Dunhill Links (UK) -- NO POINTS Europe
Oct. 16-19 Argentina Open -- NO POINTS S. America
Oct. 23-26 Brazil Open -- NO POINTS S. America
Oct. 30-Nov. 2 Korean Open Australasia
Nov. 6-9 Japanese Open Australasia
Nov. 13-16 HSBC Champions China Australasia
Nov. 20-23 Malaysian Open Australasia
Nov. 27-30 Australian Masters Australasia
Dec. 4-7 Australian PGA Australasia

About the author

Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for nearly 20 years. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He is currently a +2.6 USGA handicap, and he has covered dozens of major championships and professional golf tournaments. He likes writing about golf and making it more accessible by answering the complex questions fans have about the pro game or who want to understand how to play golf better.

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