By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com; @benalberstadt on Instagram)

July 30, 2019

Good Tuesday morning, golf fans. 
1. New sched
PGATour.com staff…“The PGA TOUR today announced an expanded 2019-20 Season schedule of 49 FedExCup tournaments, featuring a dramatically changed opening segment and several late-season adjustments to accommodate the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.”
  • “The schedule reflects a net increase of three tournaments over the current season. 11 of the 46 Regular Season events will be conducted in the opening portion of the schedule between September-November. This segment includes two new tournaments in The ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP in Japan and the Bermuda Championship, plus the return of A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier and the Houston Open following one-year absences due to their transition from 2018 mid-season dates.”
  • “Later in the season, the TOUR will have an open week during the men’s Olympic competition (week of July 27-Aug. 2) before resuming with the Wyndham Championship and three FedExCup Playoffs events. Several changes also have been made leading up to the Olympics, most notably: the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit moving one month earlier to late May; and the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational and Barracuda Championship shifting from late July to the first week of the month, exchanging dates with the 3M Open in Blaine, Minn.”

Full piece, see full schedule here. 

2. New events
Mark Schlabach at ESPN.com…”The Greenbrier Resort tournament is one of two events returning next season after a one-year hiatus. The Houston Open also is coming back and will move from its traditional date in April to Oct. 10-13 at the Golf Club of Houston.”
“There are also two new events: the Zozo Championship in Chiba, Japan, on Oct. 24-27 and the Bermuda Championship in Southampton Parish, Bermuda, which will be played opposite the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, China, on Oct. 31-Nov. 3.”
Full piece.
3. Shackelford’s take
Long an advocate or pairing down the tour calendar, Geoff Shackelford filed a mostly expected response to the calendar release…”Last I checked there are 52 weeks a year so only a few more events are needed to finally go year-round with PGA Tour events, apparently working under the belief that more is more.”
  • “The new schedule does not list silly season stops at the Hero and Shark Shootout, but I believe with those added there go two more weeks away from the player/staff point of view. At some point Christmas week may be on the table!
  • “The major headline from Monday’s release involves a rare off-week during the Olympic men’s golf, a big improvement over Rio 2016 when the John Deere Classic was contested at the same time.”

Full piece. 

4. Ban Sergio? 
The Telegraph’s James Corrigan…”For another golfer with a clean record it was the sort of tantrum which would be frowned upon, with so many groups to come having to use that teeing ground, but ultimately forgiven. Yet, Garcia has so much history in 2019 and before, that there is a growing feeling in the locker room that a fine will not suffice on this occasion and that a ban is overdue.”
  • At The Open at Royal Portrush 10 days ago, Garcia, after another wayward tee-shot, was seen petulantly hurling his driver across a tee-box in the direction of caddie. Garcia did not even look where he was throwing it and it was delivered with such force that unless his bagman, his brother Victor, had not reacted sharply he could have been hit and hurt.
  • “…Yet the leading points-scorer in Ryder Cup history has remained so high-profile that he has appeared almost untouchable.  “We are starting to wonder what Sergio has to do to get a couple of involuntarily weeks off,” a leading player told Telegraph Sport on Monday.”
Full piece. 
5. Making the cut
Pete Blackburn at CBS Sports…”Making it to the weekend in a PGA Tour event will officially become a little tougher starting next season. That development comes with the news that the tour will implement a stricter cut line for the 2019-2020 season. As a result of a policy change approved this week, the number of players to advance to the final two rounds of events next season will be limited to the top 65 and ties. The PGA had previously allowed the top 70 and ties to compete in the final 36 holes.”
“In addition to this change, the secondary 54-hole cut — utilized if 78 or more players advance after the 36-hole cut — has been eliminated altogether.”
Full piece.
6. Lexi (unintentionally) causes 40 golfers to miss British Open practice
Caddie Ian Wright was driving a van full of players’ bags from Evian to the Women’s British Open when he got a call from Lexi Thompson’s team saying her passport was in her bag…which was in his van…which was hours from Evian…
  • Golf Channel’s Randall Mell...”Wright said he left France a little after 8 p.m. Sunday and was about two hours out of Evian, about 45 minutes out of Geneva, when he got a call informing him that Thompson’s passport was on his truck. He believes it was Lexi’s father, Scott, who called. She was in Geneva and needed the passport to fly out of there.”
  • “Wright said he was asked if he could pull over and wait while Lexi’s caddie, Benji Thompson, took a taxi ride from Geneva to meet up with him.”
  • “…Benji Thompson found the passport and raced back in the taxi to return it to Lexi. Wright said with the time it took to repack the truck, he was delayed about three hours. He said that caused other delays. He missed the ferry he was originally booked to take to England, and that he ended up stuck in a few brutal morning rush-hour traffic jams.”
  • “…Most of the players waiting were looking to play practice rounds on Monday. He arrived five to six hours later than planned, so late that when he finally showed up, Woburn wasn’t allowing players to begin any more practice rounds in order for the grounds staff to get on the course to make preparations. The range, however, was open until 7 p.m.”

Full piece.

7. Brewer defends Schauffele, driver testing
Callaway’s Chip Brewer, per Golfweek…”We know Xander’s driver was conforming when he received it. Probably in the range of 245-250 CT,” Brewer said in the statement. Clubs are conforming if their CT is 237 or lower, however in an accommodation to manufacturing tolerances, the USGA and R&A allow clubs to be used with a CT up to 257.
  • “At the Open we tested it at 255 CT, still conforming but close to the limit,” Brewer said. “The R&A tested it at 258, one over the limit. This sort of testing variation is going to happen. Because the R&A tested it over the limit, the driver was taken out of play and we replaced it with one that tested well within the limits. All before the event began and conforming with the rules of golf and intent of all the testing (both ours and the R&A’s).”
  • “Brewer called for the testing process to be more confidential, then concluded his statement, which you can read in full below, by saying, “Xander is one of the highest quality, highest integrity individuals I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Let’s leave him out of this conversation going forward and focus on the real issues.”

Full piece.

8. Winners, losers
Golf.com’s Dylan Dethier rounds up a few winners…”Greenbrier. It’s back! After taking the 2018-19 season off, the Tour heads again to White Sulphur Springs, W.V. where it occupies a new spot in the schedule. Rather than buried as a mid-summer in-between event, there’s something to be said for kicking off the new wraparound season, I suppose. And I like the idea of West Virginia in early September, too, which makes this thing a winner. But going up against Week 2 of the NFL season? That’s a tougher ask.”
  • “Sanderson Farms. It’s a real tournament now! Last year, the Sanderson was played opposite the WGC-HSBC Champions; now it lives all on its own. That means the man who lifts the Golden Rooster trophy (Cameron Champ, last year) will get a Masters invite. It means the purse will jump from $4.4 million to $6.6. It means a healthy $1.19 million to the winner. And it means a full allocation of those sweet, sweet FedEx Cup points. Party on, Sanderson Farms.”
  • “ZOZO Championship. The CIMB Classic is out and the ZOZO is in. The Japan-based event will be a fantastic primer to the following summer’s Olympics, and it’s got the best headliner in golf history: Tiger Woods. Instant winner.”

See the additional winners (and losers) here. 

9. Langer’s doubters
Nick Rodger at the Herald (Scotland)…
  • “Yet the can of worms that was opened in the wake of the ban on the anchored method of putting, a style Langer adopted to overcome the heebie-jeebies and has since had to adapt, continues to lead to accusations that he is still anchoring.”
  • “For a man of great diligence and nobility, being branded, essentially, a cheat in recent years has been the ultimate indignity.”
  • “It’s a tricky one. Watching him execute a stroke on the green, with the handle of his long putter right next to his chest, just about requires you to take a CT scan to ascertain whether it is actually anchored or not.”

Full piece.

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