Friday, March 25, 2005

Protecting Hogan, Nelson Tournaments

I'm convinced that The Players Championship will someday soon be considered a true major, for reasons well elucidated here. But if it actually happens, one of the moves that will make it happen is moving the tournament from March to May.

The Players currently comes a mere two weeks before The Masters; meanwhile, May is devoid of a major championship before the U.S. Open is played in June. Moving The Players to May as a prelude to declaring it a major would put a major championship in every month from April through August. Then the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup would follow in September.

But if The Players Championship is eventually moved to May, the PGA Tour must do right by Byron Nelson and Ben Hogan and protect the integrity of the Byron Nelson Classic and The Colonial.

Both tournaments are played in May, and having either played the week before or the week following a rescheduled Players Championship would doom that tournament to second-class status on the tour.

Here's the solution: Move the Nelson to the first week of May and The Colonial to the second week. Drop in the St. Jude Classic the following week, then play The Players Championship. Follow The Players with the Booz Allen, then play Jack Nicklaus' tournament, The Memorial. Push the U.S. Open back one week to provide a 2-week gap between The Memorial and the Open.

Voila. You've got The Players, two weeks later The Memorial, two weeks later the U.S. Open. Two weeks prior to The Players you've got the tournaments of Nelson and Hogan. All the legends are protected, and the PGA Tour schedule is chock full of majors and almost-majors.

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