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Scottish Open Added To PGA Tour Schedule, Two WGCs Out

Paul Casey of England, Tony Finau of United States and Patrick Reed of the United States shake hands during the first round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on November 12, 2020 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

ASSOCIATED PRESS, Ap – Gone are two World Golf Championships from the PGA Tour schedule. New to the schedule is the first PGA Tour-sanctioned tournament in Scotland that doesn’t involve a claret jug.

More Money, Please

Even the biggest prize is changing: The FedEx Cup champion will get $18 million.

The PGA Tour released next season’s schedule on Tuesday that gives a glimpse of its strategic partnership with the European Tour, including players from both tours being eligible for certain tournaments on each side of the Atlantic.

“This is just he beginning of what our future product model will look like,” PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Of the changes large and small, what stood out was the Genesis Scottish Open on the PGA Tour schedule, one week before the British Open. The field will be split between European Tour and PGA Tour members. Points — FedEx Cup and Race to Dubai — will be applied to both.

Another significant change is the start of the PGA Tour’s postseason. The FedEx St. Jude Championship goes from being a World Golf Championship to the opening playoff event, replacing what had been a rotating venue of the New York area and Boston.

That leaves both markets without a PGA Tour event. The move was predicated by Northern Trust not renewing its title sponsorship.

The new season, which starts Sept. 16, also is the start of the tour’s mighty media rights deal, estimated to be at $7 billion over the nine-year contract for TV and digital. Monahan said prize money would increase by $35 million for the season, and the FedEx Cup bonus pool would increase from $70 million to $85 million.

Monahan said in a text message the FedEx Cup winner receives $18 million, up from $15 million last year. The FedEx Cup began with a $10 million bonus.

The European Tour has not announced its 2022 schedule with a different set of hurdles in play. It has played 52 events in 18 countries since returning from the COVID-19 pandemic last year

“Running an international business during a pandemic is so challenging and not to be underestimated,” said Keith Pelley, the CEO of the European Tour.

Still, he said he was optimistic the prize money and playing opportunities were likely to be “the highest ever” in Europe.

Pelley said the 73 PGA Tour members who can play the Scottish Open would include those who have dual membership, such as Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood.

Fifty members from the European Tour will have access to the Barbasol Championship in Kentucky and the Barracuda Championship in California. Those tournaments are held the same weeks as the Scottish Open and British Open.

A Change In Scenary

Missing from the schedule is the WGC event in Mexico City. It was moved to Florida this year on a one-time basis because of the pandemic, and now Mexico is hosting a regular tournament the last week in April at a site to be determined.

FedEx had sponsored a WGC in Memphis, Tennessee. That disappears as the tournament at TPC Southwind becomes the first of the three-event postseason to determine the FedEx Cup champion.

That means two of the three playoff events will be in the South. The Tour Championship is anchored at East Lake in Atlanta.

“The PGA Tour and the European Tour are both stronger than at any time in our history as we are positioned to grow — together — over the next 10 years faster than we have at any point in our existence,” Monahan said.

Across The Pond

As part of the tour’s alliance, the Irish Open will nearly double its purse to $6 million, and the PGA Tour pledged to work with Europe on commercial opportunities for the tournament.

As for the PGA Tour schedule, it starts in Napa, California, with the Fortinet Championship on Sept. 16-19. That’s two weeks after the Tour Championship, and a week before the Ryder Cup.

The CJ Cup in South Korea, which moved to Shadow Creek in the Las Vegas area last year because of the pandemic, returns to Las Vegas at The Summit Club.

That precedes the Zozo Championship in Japan and the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, both on the schedule and still facing some uncertainty because of travel restrictions. The Zozo Championship moved to California last year.

The Phoenix Open and Pebble Beach are trading places. After the Farmers Insurance Open in its traditional spot the last week in January, the tour goes to Pebble Beach, Phoenix and wraps up the West Coast Swing in Los Angeles for the Genesis Invitational.

One key element to Europe’s schedule is the Middle East swing at the start of the year, which has some of its strongest fields. Pelley did not say whether the Saudi International will be part of the European Tour. Dustin Johnson is the defending champion.

If it is not a sanctioned event, Monahan said the PGA Tour would stick to its policy of not granting releases for his members to play.

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