Rozner: Revamped golf schedule offers hope ahead
Word was making the rounds over the weekend, as caddies, agents and broadcasters began to hear the awful news that the Open Championship would be canceled.
Not postponed, like so many other big events around the world. The Open scheduled for mid-July at Royal St. George's would be outrighted for 2020, the first time since World War II.
A gut punch, yes.
But along with the bad rumors were the good ones, confirmed Monday when golf's governing bodies announced a hopeful and wild summer/fall schedule that will cram a year's worth of entertainment into mere weeks.
The Masters, which should be filling this entire week, has been moved to Nov. 12. The U.S. Open at Winged Foot, always Father's Day weekend, has shifted to mid-September, when the wraparound season should be in full swing.
The National Championship will be followed immediately by the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits on Sept. 25. You read that correctly. The U.S. Open and Ryder Cup in back-to-back weeks.
The PGA Championship at Harding Park will now take place in August -- as it did for decades before 2019 -- instead of mid-May, occupying the weekend that was supposed to wrap up the PGA Tour's regular season.
That event, the Wyndham, will move back a week to Aug. 13 to end the schedule, thus shifting by a week all of the FedEx Cup Playoffs, which begin Aug. 20 in Boston.
The BMW will now be at Olympia Fields the last weekend in August and followed by the Tour Championship in Atlanta, concluding on Labor Day.
As of now, we hear the PGA Tour is hoping to restart golf the first week of June with Jack Nicklaus' Memorial, though that is far from a certainty. Some believe it will be even sooner.
As for all the rest of the tournaments canceled or displaced, or those still on the docket -- like the John Deere (July 9) -- there has been no announcement, but there are some weeks available with the U.S. Open moved to September and the Olympics and Open Championship canceled.
Perhaps, The Players Championship can slide back in there.
There is so much to be determined as all of the qualifying events for so many big tournaments have also been shelved until the world reopens.
Meanwhile, the LPGA has moved its biggest tournament, the ANA Inspiration -- which should have concluded Sunday in the California desert -- to Sept. 10, and the U.S. Women's Open heads to Houston Dec. 10.
If you're desperately seeking allusion right now, there's a possibility here for some amazing tournament golf occurring at the same time the NFL kicks off, baseball is winding down and headed for the postseason, and the NBA and NHL are starting a new season.
Maybes from top to bottom here.
All of this scheduling is based on the hope that we can all return to normal in the next month or two, and that feels more like a dream than reality at the moment.
Still, this is a positive, a reason to be optimistic, especially with the pain of Masters week passing us by.
"We hope the anticipation of staging the tournament brings a moment of joy to the Augusta community and those who love the game," said Masters chairman Fred Ridley in a statement Monday, as tournament week should have been starting. "We want to emphasize that our future plans are incumbent upon favorable counsel and direction from health officials.
"Provided that occurs and we can conduct the 2020 Masters, we intend to invite those professionals and amateurs who would have qualified for our original April date and welcome all existing ticket holders to enjoy the excitement of Masters week."
The weekend behind us was to be the conclusion of the Augusta National Women's Amateur and the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals, so many young people denied perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play at the home of American golf.
For many, like the women amateurs who turn pro this summer, there will be no replacing that chance.
For the rest of us, at least Golf Channel and CBS will be filling airwaves with Masters highlights and full-round replays, with the 2019 final round broadcast Sunday afternoon.
Sunday is, after all, for red shirts and victories.
As bad as it all feels right now, knowing we will soon enough get to see the best play again is the light we could use.
The end of the tunnel remains a mystery -- but we know it is there.