Obviously the four most anticipated golf events of 2019 will be the Masters, the U.S. Open, the Open Championship and the PGA Championship — although maybe not in that order. The four majors are the foundation of any golf season, and now with Tiger Woods back in the mix alongside an electrifying crop of golfers with ages ranging 25-35, the anticipation is even higher.
Plus, the course lineup is laugh-out-loud good. Augusta National, Bethpage Black, Pebble Beach and Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland. We’re not worthy.
So any list of tournaments we’re looking forward to should start and end with the four majors. I personally think winning majors is both overrated (winning the Players is just as hard) and underrated (what Brooks Koepka is currently doing is preposterous), but those are other columns for other times. Today, I want to talk about five 2019 tournaments that aren’t majors that I’m fired up about as we head into yet another exciting golf calendar year.
1. Players Championship: This is probably No. 1 every single season, but there’s extra fascination this time around as the event heads back to March for the first time since 2006. This may feel weird in the first year, but I think ultimately the rhythm of a Players-Masters-PGA-U.S. Open-Open-FedEx Cup calendar (all in different months!) will be pretty awesome.
2. Genesis Open: Everybody has their “this is the real opening day for golf” event, and I think Riviera is probably it for me. You can keep Pebble Beach and Torrey Pines, and I’ll take Tiger Woods on this jewel of a course with one of the best fields of the first two months. Fully subscribed.
3. Tournament of Champions: No really! There will be ample anticipation after a month-long break. Rory McIlroy will be there. Dustin Johnson and Cameron Champ will be trying to drive balls into the Pacific Ocean. And … if you haven’t seen it yet … it sounds like Tiger Woods might make an appearance for the first time in over a decade. What’s not to be excited about?!
4. Tour Championship: I’m normally worn out by this time of the season, but a few changes here have engendered greater interest. The PGA Tour has implemented a new system in which the leader of the FedEx Cup going into the Tour Championship will start the Tour Championship at 10 under. Really, this is a real thing that’s going to happen!
It could get mega confusing for people who don’t know what’s going on — how did Rory McIlroy shoot 270 to Justin Rose’s 277 and lose by four? — but I think it’s ultimately a good solution to a complex problem, and I’m intrigued to see how it plays out. Also, the winner of the FedEx Cup now gets $15 million instead of $10 million.
5. Wyndham Championship: Wait … the Wyndham Championship?! So maybe it’s not at the best course or in the best spot on the calendar, but the PGA Tour has implemented a new system in which the winner of the regular season FedEx Cup points list gets $2 million. That’s a lot of dough to pass up for somebody who wants to skip this tournament between the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational and the three playoff events but is near the top in the FedEx Cup.
My actual tournament for this spot is probably the Memorial or the Arnold Palmer Invitational, but in Year 1, my interest is piqued for how this change affects the Wyndham.
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