The PGA Tour announced its complete 2017-18 schedule on Tuesday. As we stare down the finale of the golf season with this week’s Tour Championship, here are seven things to look for as the next season begins.
1. The only thing better than 47 FedEx Cup events is… 49 FedEx Cup events!
More golf is always better, but wow—two newbies means that there are a heck of a lot of events. December is empty, so the Tour is really packing ’em in during the rest of the season. July has six! In only four-and-a-half weeks! Buckle up, sports fans.
2. There are two new events abroad, and the Tour is more international than ever
The CJ Cup at Nine Bridges, Korea’s first official PGA Tour event, debuts Oct. 16-22 at The Club at Nine Bridges on South Korea’s Jeju Island. The Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship, a Web.com tour event for two years, has been upgraded to the big Tour and will run March 19-25, 2018, parallel to the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. The Tom Fazio-designed Corales course will play host again.
The PGA Tour schedule now includes nine tournaments in eight countries outside the United States. Malaysia’s CIMB Classic, South Korea’s CJ Cup, and Shanghai’s WGC-HSBC Champions will kick off the season, combining for a three-tournament Asian stretch this October.
3. May will bring a fresh Texas test
The AT&T Byron Nelson (May 17-20) moves to Trinity Forest Golf Club, a brand new links-style course dreamt up by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw just 10 minutes from downtown Dallas. The course has opened to rave reviews; it will be fascinating to see how it plays come tournament week and hear player opinion on the much-heralded layout.
4. The playoffs are still on the move
Two FedEx Cup Playoffs events change courses: The Northern Trust Open (Aug. 23-26) returns to The Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey, while the BMW Championship (Sept. 6-9) leaves Illinois to head to Aronimink Golf Club outside of Philadelphia.
5. The momentum-killer week is back
The first three playoff events will run consecutively before a week off in advance of the Tour Championship. By the time the Tour moves on to East Lake, many fans will have moved on to football season.
6. More cash than ever is on the line
Some of these guys should do OK: total purses are up to a record $363 million for 2017-18.
7. This is Glory’s Last Shot’s last shot.
The PGA is in August—one last time. Cherish it while you can, PGA traditionalists, because golf’s fourth major is headed to May in 2019.