PGA Tour's 2015-16 schedule is shuffled by return of Olympic golf
By Doug Ferguson
Jordan Spieth might have no choice but to miss the John Deere Classic next year. It's the same week as the Olympics.
The PGA Tour released on Thursday its 2015-16 schedule, which included changes because of golf's return to the Olympics next August in Rio de Janeiro. The Travelers Championship, John Deere Classic and Wyndham Championship will be played during the three-week Olympic window.
Spieth chose to play the John Deere Classic this year, even though it was a week before his bid for the third leg of the Grand Slam at the Open Championship. He not only won the Deere, he missed a playoff by one shot at St. Andrews.
He also won the John Deere in 2013 to earn his full tour card.
Tournament Director Clair Peterson said the John Deere would like to have Spieth back to defend, although "we can think of no better representative of our country" than Spieth at the Rio Games.
The Americans can have as many as four players at the Olympics, provided they are among the top 15 in the world ranking. Spieth is No. 2, and he has nearly double the points average over the fifth-ranked American.
It's possible two tour events during the Olympics will be without a defending champion. Bubba Watson, currently No. 3, won the Travelers.
Golf executives told the International Olympic Committee they wouldn't hold big events – majors and World Golf Championships – during the Olympics. It was always going to be busy, especially in a Ryder Cup year.
The PGA Championship agreed to move up to July 28-31, just two weeks after the Open Championship. And the Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone will be held two weeks after the U.S. Open instead of its early August date preceding the PGA Championship.
Still unclear is how that will affect the European Tour, which has not released its schedule for next year. The weeks between the U.S. Open and Open Championship are during the heart of the continental schedule, with strong events in Germany, France and Scotland.
"We knew there would be challenges for all of golf in terms of scheduling when the Olympics came in, and a number of people have made sacrifices," said Ty Votaw, the PGA Tour chief spokesman and vice president of the International Golf Federation.
The Quicken Loans National, hosted by Tiger Woods, will be held a week after the U.S. Open. Woods has not played the week following the U.S. Open since he tied for 13th in the Buick Classic in 2003. That means a three-week period on courses that have hosted majors – Oakmont, Congressional and Firestone.
The Greenbrier Classic will be in the John Deere's old spot a week before the Open Championship, and the Canadian Open will be sandwiched between the Open (Royal Troon) and the PGA Championship (Baltusrol).
The FedExCup playoffs will start the week after the Olympics, and that could present challenges for players from smaller countries who qualify for the Olympics but are struggling to stay in the top 125 in the FedExCup. That could mean giving up a crucial week – or two weeks if they want to take part in opening ceremonies in Rio – in which they are missing out on potential points. This year, for example, Carlos Ortiz of Mexico is No. 111 in the FedExCup.
"We're looking at this as one in four (years). We're not faced with it every year," Votaw said. "So it depends on where they are and what they want."
He said projections show only about half of the 60-man field for the Olympics will be PGA Tour members.
Here is the complete 2015-16 PGA Tour schedule:
Oct. 12-18: Frys.com Open
Silverado Resort and Spa (North Course) in Napa, Calif.
Oct. 19-25: Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas, Nev.
Oct. 26-Nov. 1: CIMB Classic
Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Nov. 2-8: WGC-HSBC Champions
Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai, China
Nov. 2-8: Sanderson Farms Championship
Country Club of Jackson in Jackson, Miss.
Nov. 9-15: OHL Classic at Mayakoba
El Camaleon Golf Club at Mayakoba Resort in Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Nov. 16-22: McGladrey Classic
Sea Island Resort (Seaside Course, Plantation Course) in St. Simons Island, Ga.
Jan. 4-10: Hyundai Tournament of Champions
Kapalua Resort (Plantation Course) in Kapalua, Hawaii
Jan. 11-17: Sony Open in Hawaii
Waialae Country Club in Honolulu, Hawai
Jan. 18-24: Career Builder Challenge
PGA West (Stadium Course, Nicklaus Tournament Course) and La Quinta Country Club in La Quinta, Calif.
Jan. 25-31: Farmers Insurance Open
Torrey Pines Golf Course (South Course, North Course) in La Jolla, Calif.
Feb. 1-7: Waste Management Phoenix Open
TPC Scottsdale (Stadium Course) in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Feb. 8-14: AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
Pebble Beach Golf Links, Spyglass Hill Golf Course, Monterey Peninsula Country Club (Shore Course) in Pebble Beach, Calif.
Feb. 15-21: Northern Trust Open
Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
Feb. 22-28: Honda Classic
PGA National (Champion Course) in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Feb. 29-Mar. 6: WGC-Cadillac Championship
Trump National Doral (Blue Monster Course) in Doral, Fla.
Mar. 7-13: Valspar Championship
Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club (Copperhead Course) in Palm Harbor, Fla.
Mar. 14-20: Arnold Palmer Invitational
Bay Hill Golf Club and Lodge in Orlando, Fla.
Mar. 21-27: WGC-Dell Match Play
Austin Country Club in Austin, Texas
Mar. 21-27: Puerto Rico Open
Coco Beach Golf and Country Club in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico
Mar. 28-April 3: Shell Houston Open
Golf Club of Houston (Tournament Course) in Humble, Texas
April 4-10: Masters Tournament
Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga.
April 11-17: RBC Heritage
Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head Island, S.C.
April 18-24: Valero Texas Open
TPC San Antonio (AT&T Oaks Course) in San Antonio, Texas
April 25-May 1: Zurich Classic of New Orleans
TPC Louisiana in New Orleans, La.
May 2-8: Wells Fargo Championship
Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C.
May 9-15: Players Championship
TPC Sawgrass (The Players Stadium Course) in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
May 16-22: AT&T Byron Nelson
Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas (TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas) in Irving, Texas
May 23-29: Colonial National Invitational Tournament
Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas
May 30-June 5: Memorial Tournament
Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio
June 6-12: FedEx St. Jude Classic
TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tenn.
June 13-19: U.S. Open
Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pa.
June 20-26: Quicken Loans National
Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md.
June 27-July 3: WGC-Bridgestone Invitational
Firestone Country Club (South Course) in Akron, Ohio
June 27-July 3: Barracuda Championship
Montreux Golf and Country Club in Reno, Nev.
July 4-10: Greenbrier Classic
The Greenbrier (The Old White TPC) in White Sulphur Springs, W. Va.
July 11-17: Open Championship
Royal Troon Golf Club in Troon, Scotland
July 11-17: Barbasol Championship
Robert Trent Jones Trail (Grand National Lake Course) in Opelika, Ala.
July 18-24: RBC Canadian Open
Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ontario
July 25-31: PGA Championship
Baltusrol Golf Club (Lower Course) in Springfield, N.J.
Aug. 1-7: Travelers Championship
TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn.
Aug. 8-14: John Deere Classic
TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill.
Aug. 8-14: Olympic Men's Golf Competition
Olympic Golf Course in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Aug. 15-21: Wyndham Championship
Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C.
Aug. 22-28: The Barclays
Bethpage State Park (Black Course) in Bethpage, N.Y.
Aug. 29-Sept. 5: Deutsche Bank Championship
TPC Boston in Norton, Mass.
Sept. 5-11: BMW Championship
Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Ind.
Sept. 12-18: Off Week
Sept. 19-25: Tour Championship
East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Ga.
Sept. 26-Oct. 2: Ryder Cup
Sept. 26-Oct. 2: Ryder Cup
Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn.
Copyright (2015) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Doug Ferguson from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.