Date changes: The Houston Open was moved back six months, from April to October. The Greenbrier Classic was moved back two months, from July to September. Due to the scheduling changes, neither tournament had been on the 2018–19 schedule. The 3M Open moved back three weeks, from early July to late July. The Sanderson Farms Championship moved up five weeks, from late October to mid September. The Shriners Hospitals for Children Open moved up four weeks, from early November to early October. The Rocket Mortgage Classic moved up four weeks, from late June to late May. And the tandem of the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational and Barracuda Championship moved up three weeks, from late July to early July to accommodate the 2020 Summer Olympics.
Three of the four majors take place in eight weeks between June and August. In the past, this has threatened to make the last 2-1/2 months of the season anti-climactic, as some of the very top players competed less from that point on. In response, the PGA Tour has introduced a new format, the FedEx Cup. From January through mid-August players compete in "regular season" events and earn FedEx Cup points, in addition to prize money. At the end of the regular season, the top 125 FedEx Cup points winners are eligible to compete in the "playoffs", four events taking place from mid-August to mid-September. The field sizes for these events are reduced from 125 to 100 to 70 and finally the traditional 30 for the Tour Championship. Additional FedEx Cup points are earned in these events. At the end of the championship, the top point winner is the season champion. To put this new system into place, the PGA Tour has made significant changes to the traditional schedule.
As announced in 2017, the US PGA Championship was moved from August to May, starting in 2019. The PGA of America cited the addition of golf to the Summer Olympics, as well as cooler weather enabling a wider array of options for host courses, as reasoning for the change. It was also believed that the PGA Tour wished to re-align its season so that its FedEx Cup Playoffs would not have to compete with the start of the NFL season in early September, since both United States broadcast partners (CBS and NBC) are NFL broadcast partners.
Justin Thomas headlines the Sony Open in Hawaii, the first full-field event of the calendar year. Thomas famously shot a 59 here in 2017 and holds the 36, 54, and 72-hole records at Waialae Country Club. Defending champion Matt Kuchar also returns following his four-shot win over Andrew Putnam in 2019. Joining him are Hideki Matsuyama, Presidents Cup star Abraham Ancer and last season's Barracuda Championship winner Collin Morikawa. With 500 FedExCup points up for grabs, can Kuchar retain his title?
Some events take place outside the United States: Canada, Mexico, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan, the Dominican Republic, Bermuda and the U.S. possession of Puerto Rico host one sole-sanctioned event each year. The events in Puerto Rico, Bermuda and the Dominican Republic are alternate events held opposite World Golf Championships tournaments and therefore have weaker fields than regular Tour events. In addition, Mexico and China host World Golf Championships and the United Kingdom hosts a major championship.
Invitational: These events are similar to the regular ones, but have a slightly smaller field and do not follow the normal PGA Tour exemption categories. Invitational tournaments include the Charles Schwab Challenge, the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the RBC Heritage, the Memorial Tournament. The tournaments usually have an association with a golf legend, or in the case of the RBC Heritage, a famous course. The table below illustrates some of the notable features of the exemption categories for these events:
In June 2018, it was announced that Eurosport's parent company Discovery Inc. had acquired exclusive international media rights to the PGA Tour outside of the United States, beginning 2019, under a 12-year, US$2 billion deal. The contract covers Discovery's international channels (including Eurosport), sub-licensing arrangements with local broadcasters, and development of an international PGA Tour over the top subscription service—which was unveiled in October under the brand GolfTV. The service will replace PGA Tour Live in international markets as existing rights lapse, beginning with Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Portugal, Russia and Spain in January 2019. GolfTV also acquired rights to the Ryder Cup and European Tour in selected markets, and signed a deal with Tiger Woods to develop original content centered upon him.
Alternate: Events which are played in the same week as a higher status tournament (either a WGC or the Open Championship) and therefore have weakened fields and reduced prize money. They are often considered an opportunity for players who would not qualify for certain events due to their world rankings, positions on the FedEx Cup points list, or position on the Tour's priority list to move up more easily or have an easier attempt at a two-year exemption for winning a tournament. Because of their weaker fields, these events usually receive the minimum amount of world ranking points reserved for PGA Tour events (24 points) and fewer FedEx Cup points than most tournaments (300 points instead of 500). Alternate event winners also do not earn Masters invitations. Fields for alternate events have 132 players. These events have 12 unrestricted sponsor exemptions, four more than the regular events.
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The tour began 91 years ago in 1929 and at various times the tournament players had attempted to operate independently from the club professionals. With an increase of revenue in the late 1960s due to expanded television coverage, a dispute arose between the touring professionals and the PGA of America on how to distribute the windfall. The tour players wanted larger purses, where the PGA desired the money to go to the general fund to help grow the game at the local level. Following the final major in July 1968 at the PGA Championship, several leading tour pros voiced their dissatisfaction with the venue and the abundance of club pros in the field. The increased friction resulted in a new entity in August, what would eventually become the PGA Tour. Tournament players formed their own organization, American Professional Golfers, Inc. (APG), independent of the PGA of America. Its headquarters were in New York City.