The ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia is looking to use the global pandemic to reimagine their schedule, which will now run from October to March -- from this fall and moving forward.
The issues created by COVID-19 has forced the tour's 2020 schedule to be paused until late September, and that's expected to be the norm in years to come.
The hope is the shift to a wraparound season would allow for new events in January and February, when the pro golf year is still getting its footing worldwide.
“The coronavirus has obviously caused great disruption to golf tournaments throughout the world but we saw an opportunity to not only provide our players with a full season this year but put in place a schedule that we believe is in the best interests of golf in Australia,” said PGA Tour of Australasia Tournaments Director Nick Dastey.
Dastey added, “The golf season used to run over the summer months (winter in the northern hemisphere) and into the new year and we believe by adjusting the schedule in this way that it will be a positive move not only for our players but also golf fans.”
The hope is that a defined, six-month schedule will also allow for more co-sanctioned events with the European Tour to create an Australian swing to open the year, perhaps picking up after the events co-sanctioned with South Africa's Sunshine Tour. The tour also hopes to incorporate The Players Series, which features male and female professionals, into the schedule. The change would also preserve the tour's capability to offer a one-year European Tour exemption to the winner of the order of merit.
“Creating more playing opportunities will strengthen our talent pathways and the development of our future stars so they can progress onto the world stage. We are confident the new-look schedule will reinvigorate the ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia and allow golf fans to be more engaged in the careers of our Aussie golfers,” said former player and current Tour Development Manager Kim Felton.
“In some respects this change, brought upon by COVID-19, has been fortuitous and we’re really excited by what it allows us to do and what a wrap-around season can potentially look like.”