Both the European and the PGA Tour have shifted around their schedules. The biggest difference has seen the PGA Championship moved up to May, but has this and the knock-on effect of other tournaments on the European schedule moving back out to September and October meant that Americans are better placed to win the majors in 2019?
What the positioning of the US PGA Championship in May does is create a four-month window of majors from The Masters Tournament in April, US PGA Championship in May, US Open in June and The Open in July. For the PGA Tour, it creates a beautifully balanced build-up to the FedExCup Playoffs and Tour Championship in August.
Meanwhile, the European Tour has shifted its flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship, back to September, leaving five of the eight Rolex Series events occurring after the conclusion of the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour, making it a little bit of an after-the-lord-mayors-show kind of situation.
For players like Martin Kaymer, who has only just received his 2018-19 exemption from the PGA Tour due to injury last season resulting in him playing just 11 of the required 15 events, it means heavy scheduling in America.
“Look at the European Tour schedule from February to June, not much to say about that. So if you need to go up in the world rankings and compete in majors you need to prepare properly,” said Kaymer.
What he’s saying is this is that to win majors he won’t be playing on the European Tour much from February through to the Open in July. Any Europeans looking to focus on the majors are going to make some tough decisions; either base themselves in America or risk burnout with a number of long-haul destinations to reach on the European Tour. Because the full extent of the two Tour’s mismatch of events at this time of the year is stark.
While the PGA Tour heads off for the Waste Management Phoenix Open, Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Genesis Open, WGC-Mexico Championship, The Honda Classic, Arnold Palmer Invitational, The Players, Valspar Championship, The Masters, RBC Heritage, Wells Fargo, Byron Nelson, PGA Championship and the Memorial, the European Tour has stops in Australia, Oman, Kenya, Qatar, Malaysia, India, Morocco, China, England, Denmark and Belgium.
It’s pretty obvious to assume those either playing on the PGA Tour or basing themselves in America during this period are going to be much better prepared to focus on the first three majors of the year and a whole lot more rested-up too.
For Martin Kaymer, a double-major winner, whose schedule is due to open up at the Waste Management, expect him to stay in Arizona until June, where the bookmakers see him a distant 175/1 in the golf betting to win the US Open when it returns to Pebble Beach.
Since 2014 and Kaymer’s US Open victory, when three of the four majors were won by Europeans, 11 of the last 16 majors in men’s golf have been won by Americans and with both Tours’ new schedule favouring the Americans don’t expect that figure to redress any time soon.