European Tour’s new schedule sets up for big finish
By Doug Ferguson
The PGA Championship moving to May might have provided a strong finishing kick to the European Tour season.
The European Tour released a schedule for next year that still involves 31 countries on five continents with 48 tournaments, even if they are a little out of order. The biggest change was moving its flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, from May to September.
Wentworth would have been one week after the PGA Championship. Now it is Sept. 19-22 and kicks off a stretch that includes the popular Dunhill Links Championship a week later, a Rolex Series event at the Italian Open, the French Open at Le Golf National, a World Golf Championships event in Shanghai and the final three Rolex Series events (Turkey, South Africa, Dubai) that conclude the Race to Dubai.
The French Open is no longer a Rolex Series event (with a $7 million purse) and has been moved from the heart of the continental European schedule in early summer to a fall date in October. The Irish Open at Lahinch and the Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club next to Muirfield lead into the British Open at Royal Portrush.
Abu Dhabi takes over as a Rolex Series event and will be the first event of 2019 (Jan. 16-19). It will be followed by Dubai and a new tournament called the Saudi International, where Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed and Paul Casey are expected to play.
Another new event is the Kenya Open, which has been upgraded from a Challenge Tour event and will be the same week as The Players Championship. The European Tour also added the Vic Open, a PGA Tour of Australasian event in which men and women compete on the same course for the same prize money.
It also managed to save the British Masters, which Tommy Fleetwood will host at Hillside Golf Club next door to Royal Birkdale.
The European Tour remains the most global golf circuit. Just over half — 16 of 31 — of the countries it visits are in Europe. Because of the majors and World Golf Championships, the country that has the most European Tour events on the schedule is the United States.
This article was written by Doug Ferguson from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.