ATLANTA — Not since 1962 has the PGA Tour had 50 official tournaments in one season, much less six majors.
On Wednesday, when the tour announced its 2020-21 schedule — a packed slate that includes two Masters in a span of five months, two U.S. Opens on opposite ends of the country and a tournament in the Dominican Republic that will be played twice in the same season — commissioner Jay Monahan called it "a dream season."
It starts next Thursday, Sept. 10, in Napa, California, and ends Sept. 4, 2021, in Atlanta, which is where the PGA Tour is this week for the 30-player Tour Championship that concludes the 2019-20 season. That tournament, which tees off Friday at East Lake Golf Club, includes Baylor School graduate Harris English in the top quarter of the points standings.
The 50 events offering official money next season do not include the tournament at the Olympics, which were postponed until 2021 in Tokyo and will be held two weeks after the British Open and the week before a World Golf Championship — the FedEx St. Jude Invitational at TPC Southwind in Memphis. None of this would have happened if not for the PGA Tour going dark from mid-March to mid-June as the COVID-19 pandemic shut down sports around the world and led to three tournaments being rescheduled for after this year's FedEx Cup playoffs: the Masters, the U.S. Open and the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship.
The latter, which is played in the Dominican Republic, originally was canceled, then rescheduled until Sept. 24-27, the same weekend of the Ryder Cup, which subsequently was postponed from this year to next. The Dominican tourney will return to its regular spot on the schedule in March, opposite the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. It will offer full FedEx Cup points — and presumably an invitation to the Masters to the winner — in September, and then reduced points and no Masters Invitation available in March.
Monahan said the Bermuda Championship that ends Nov. 1 also will receive full FedEx Cup points because it is no longer the same week as the HSBC Champions, the WGC event in Shanghai that was canceled this year. The International Federation of PGA Tours confirmed the inevitable Wednesday. The tournament was scheduled for Oct. 29-Nov. 1 at Sheshan International Golf Club, and the Chinese government had already announced in July that because of the pandemic, the country would not host international sports events for the rest of 2020.
Two other tournaments have been moved out of Asia and to the United States in the past two weeks. The Zozo Championship set for Japan — Tiger Woods won there last year for his record-tying 82nd PGA Tour victory — is now scheduled to be played Oct. 22-25 at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, California. It will be called the Zozo Championship at Sherwood, a similar title to the South Korean event moving to Las Vegas the week before. That one will be called the CJ Cup at Shadow Creek. Both are expected to return to Asia after this year.
As for 2020-21, Monahan sees plenty to look forward to.
"If you're a golf fan, this is a dream season with more significant events than ever before, including the Olympic Games," Monahan said. "What more can you ask for?"
Because of the pandemic, the PGA Tour's 2019-20 season lost 13 tournaments, though one was replaced by a temporary event at Muirfield Village the week before the Jack Nicklaus-hosted Memorial Tournament at the same Ohio course.
The new season will have 12 events this fall — the U.S. Open is Sept. 17-20 at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York, and the Masters is Nov. 12-15 at Augusta National Golf Club — and then resume Jan. 7 at Kapalua Resort in Hawaii for the Sentry Tournament of Champions. Because so many tournaments were lost, the 30 players who reached the Tour Championship will be eligible for what is usually a winners-only field on Maui.
The U.S. Open will be at Torrey Pines in San Diego next year, while the PGA Championship is at South Carolina's Kiawah Island. The British Open is at Royal St. George's in England, where it was scheduled to be in 2020 until it was canceled.
Still to be determined is when tournaments will allow spectators. Monahan said the Dominican Republic event in late September will have a pro-am. Monahan said all amateurs will be tested at tournaments that have pro-ams.
"When we feel like it's safe to return fans out here, that's when fans will return," he said. "We owe that to them, to make sure that we're supported locally in every market we play in."
The 1962 schedule was seven years before the PGA Tour broke away from the PGA of America. That season began Jan. 8 with the Los Angeles Open — where Nicklaus made his professional debut — and ended Dec. 9 with the Coral Gables Open Invitational.