The PGA Tour is currently piecing together a schedule that can salvage the 2020 season, at least the good parts of it. On Monday we learned what that future may look like, including a mid-November drive down Magnolia Lane.
The Masters is re-scheduled for November 9-15, which doesn’t do anything for our sorrow this week, but gives us a bizarre event to look forward to later this year. Fake azaleas? Back-to-back Masters tournaments in the major rotation? Do birds even chirp in November?
We also know the Open Championship is completely canceled for the first time since World War II, and that the U.S. Open and the Ryder Cup will be held on consecutive weekends in September. The PGA Championship will get things going with the first major of the year August 6-9.
Here in Kentucky, our connection to the PGA, the Barbasol Championship in Nicholasville, is in jeopardy. The tournament, an “alternate event” played opposite the Open Championship every summer, is in its third year in the Bluegrass and right now the PGA Tour has the Barbasol’s 2020 playing status listed as TBD. It is very important to note that it is not, to my knowledge, canceled.
Now let’s see if you’re paying attention and connect some dots. The Barbasol is played the same weekend as the Open every year, but the Open is sitting this year out. That means the best golfers in the entire world, the guys who would normally be chasing a major in the United Kingdom, are now completely free to play golf somewhere else like, say, the PGA event being played that weekend in America. In a perfect world, that event will still be in Kentucky, as scheduled.
However, the PGA will consider using the Barbasol’s weekend to play other tournaments. Fact of the matter is, of all the PGA tournaments on the calendar, our beloved Barbasol is at the bottom in importance. That’s not an opinion; it is a fact that the tournament does not award the same money and FedEx points of other events due to its weak field. As an alternate event, its purpose is to provide opportunities to the players trying to make it, young guys on the rise or veterans hanging on; not the stars whose tour cards and bank accounts are secure.
However however, if the PGA does not push the Barbasol aside for another event or play two tournaments in one weekend, and the Barbasol goes on as planned (lots of if’s here), we will see the strongest field that tournament will ever get and could ever imagine. The PGA may even decide to strengthen the tournament with more FedEx points and money, in which case more and more of the top tier golfers will flock to Lexington, Kentucky. In that scenario, I think it’s still unlikely the A-listers of professional golf will commit their time to the Barbasol Championship, but what else do they have going on? Plus they have endorsements. They’re competitors with a competitive drive. They need a paycheck. Why not?
It’s all very unlikely for the reasons listed and many more, but not completely unfathomable.
Tiger Woods probably won’t be playing Keene Trace Golf Club with the eyes of the country watching live on NBC in July, but we can dream. Can you imagine some of the scores we’d see?