Current Events: Revamped PGA Tour Schedule off to an Intriguing Start

The new PGA Tour season is upon us and events are underway. This is the first season that will take place during two calendar years, marking a key change in the rhythm of the year. PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem authored the plan to push earlier the beginning of the FedEx Cup season from January’s Hyundai Tournament of Champions to the Frys.com Open in October. That event was captured by Tour journeyman Jimmy Walker, who earned his first Tour victory in more than 180 career starts.

The following week, a strong field headed to the TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas for the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Webb Simpson shot four rounds of 67 or better, blistering the course to the tune of a 72-hole total of 24-under par 26 and a six-shot victory over Ryo Ishikawa and Jason Bohn.

From there, and in historic fashion, the Tour went abroad—far abroad—for two weeks. The CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions at Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai, China. At the former, thunderstorms left the course soggy and playing quite long, especially the 630-yard finishing hole, where Ryan Moore and Gary Woodland found themselves in a playoff early Monday morning after a hoped-for Sunday conclusion. Moore birdied that hole to earn the first FedEx points ever given out in Asia. The following week, South Carolina native and former Coastal Carolina University standout Dustin Johnson closed with rounds of 63, 66 and 66 to win by three shots over an elite field that included the likes of Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson and many more.

The win—Johnson’s eighth of his career—marked the seventh consecutive season in which he will have won at least one PGA Tour event, which further confirms his status as one of the game’s great young players. It is also the second straight season in which Johnson has won the first event in which he has played (he won the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in January 2013).

(posted 12/4/13)