Why this major champion thinks the PGA Tour needs an off-season

The PGA Tour’s 2021-22 season schedule features a whopping 48 events, meaning there’s rarely a time when golf isn’t being played somewhere around the world.

Most Tour players tee it up an average of 20 to 30 events each season, which can create a dearth of top names at a significant number of events each year. Players have to rest at some point, after all.

The emergence of competing tours like the Premier Golf League and the rumored Greg Norman-led league has brought scheduling to the forefront of the PGA Tour’s issues. And who can blame golf’s biggest names for perhaps finding a compact schedule with guaranteed money more appealing than the current model?

On this week’s episode of Off Course with Claude Harmon, 2016 PGA champion Jimmy Walker gave his take on the Tour’s ultra-packed schedule.

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“I think that they’ve just got so many moving parts right now, I think we need a break again. I think guys are ready for that,” Walker said. “And I can’t say that I have not benefitted from the wraparound season. I think I was the first guy to really like — I think it was the year that I won where they started all that stuff. I’ve benefitted from it. But I think that you need time off. Guys need it. Even the young guys. They’re playing their butts off, they practice hard. They’re putting themselves through the wringer. Having a two-and-a-half, three-month break at the end of the year is awesome.

“Football needs it, baseball needs it. All these sports need it,” Walker continued. “Go take the average guy and have him play five straight days in a row, and bang balls and practice like we do, they’re going to feel like they got hit by a truck.”

Walker said that thanks to his five-year exemption status, he’s one of the lucky ones who can choose to give himself an off-season.

“I don’t have to play in the fall,” he said. “I still play golf at home and I still and enjoy it, but it’s letting your mind take a break. You’re not out there having to compete. You can come home and enjoy a round of golf with your buddies. It’s refreshing and it just helps rejuvenate your body and rejuvenate your mind, about yeah, I’ve had a couple months off, I’m ready to go back out and start crushing it again, crushing people and getting after it. But having that break is nice.”

For more from Walker, including why he considers himself an underachiever and what it feels like to be in the zone, check out the full interview below.

Golf.com Editor

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on GOLF.com.