5 biggest takeaways from the PGA Tour’s 2021-22 schedule shake-up
Any plans for 2022 yet? No? Well then, let us be the first to change that.
The PGA Tour announced its complete 2021-22 schedule Tuesday, debuting a beefy, 48-event roster that expands the Tour’s reach further than it has ever gone before.
While it’s no “Super Season” (thanks in large part to a season thankfully free of Covid-19 related cancellations), the slightly reduced calendar includes many of the biggest events fans have come to expect from the PGA Tour: the Players Championship, the Genesis, and of course, the FedEx Cup Playoffs, in addition to dozens of others.
Here are 5 key takeaways from what you can expect in the upcoming PGA Tour season.
1. Ties across the Atlantic
The BIG headline from the schedule announcement is the expansion of the “strategic alliance” between the PGA and European Tours. In 2022, the alliance will see the two tours co-sanction three events — the Barbasol, Barracuda and Scottish Open — opening the floodgates for dozens more of the game’s top-rated players to compete in European Tour events, and vice versa.
The PGA Tour assumed an ownership stake in the European Tour as part of the alliance, which was created with the goal of forming an international competitor to the rumored SGL and PGL, two upstart leagues that could look to poach talent from the newly aligned tours in the coming months.
2. Goodbye, Northern Trust…
Golf fans in the Northeast will be disappointed to see the new schedule brings with it the end of the few remaining events in the region: the Northern Trust.
The first FedEx Cup playoff event has gotten the ax in the 2021-22 PGA Tour schedule, leaving behind a reputation for touring the Northeast in the late summer. The Northern Trust struggled to land a home at the highest rung of elite courses in the area, but it was responsible for a handful of memorable moments, like Dustin Johnson’s record-setting 30-under performance in 2020.
3. …and Hello, FedEx St. Jude
Replacing the Northern Trust is this week’s PGA Tour stop: the WGC-FedEx St. Jude. In 2022, the tournament will take on a slightly streamlined name — the FedEx St. Jude (headline writers everywhere, rejoice!) — in addition to a new August date.
The FedEx St. Jude will take the place abandoned by the Northern Trust, becoming the first FedEx Cup playoff event. TPC Southwind, the event’s host of more than three decades, will continue on as the first playoff venue in the new year.
4. Trouble for the Asia Swing?
The Tour’s self-entitled “Asia Swing” appears in danger of being contested from the United States for the second consecutive year. After Covid restrictions forced the three-event circuit (WGC-HSBC Champions, CJ Cup and Zozo Championship) into the southwestern United States last fall, one of the events (the CJ Cup) has already been pushed back to its temporary home (The Summit Club in Las Vegas), and the Tour hasn’t closed the door on the other two.
The WGC-HSBC Champions and Zozo Championship, on the other hand, are the only events on the Tour calendar emblazoned with a “to be determined” asterisk.
5. Steph Curry enters the fold
The Memorial Tournament welcomes a new sponsor and a new figurehead in 2022 … sort of. Of course, Jack Nicklaus will still be in the fold when the action returns to Muirfield Village for the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday, in June. But joining him atop the altar will be NBA star Steph Curry and his wife, Ayesha, a New York Times bestselling author.
The Currys were in attendance at the 2021 iteration of the event, and figure to grow into a larger role at Nicklaus’ home event in the years to come. Curry, 33, has roots in the area: He was born in nearby Akron, Ohio.