A new PGA Tour season begins this week with another fall series, the start as what has become known as the “wraparound schedule.” That structure is going away after this year, so cherish this upcoming stretch:
- Sept. 15-18 – Fortinet Championship – Silverado Resort and Spa, Napa, CA
- Sept. 22-25 – Presidents Cup break
- Sept. 29-Oct. 2 – Sanderson Farms Championship – Country Club of Jackson, MS
- Oct. 6-9 – Shriners Children’s Open – TPC Summerlin, Las Vegas
- Oct. 13-16 – Zozo Championship – Narashino Country Club, Japan
- Oct. 20-23 – The CJ Cup in South Carolina, Congaree Golf Club
- Oct. 27-30 – Butterfield Bermuda Championship – Port Royal Golf Course
- Nov. 3-6 – WWT Championship – El Camaleón Golf Course at Mayakoba
- Nov. 10-13 – Cadence Bank Houston Open – Memorial Park Golf Course
- Nov. 17-20 – The RSM Classic – Sea Island Golf Club
With fall golf’s return, TFE staff poured their favorite pumpkin-spiced beverage and sat down at this virtual roundtable to discuss a couple of quick topics.
The specifics are far from clear, but the PGA Tour schedule is going to look dramatically different after this next season. A major shakeup is likely coming to the fall slate. In the spirit of fantasy football coming into bloom, let’s pick some start/sit options from this current fall slate of events that you’d like to see continue on a new schedule and those that you would not mind being swept into the dustbin of history?
Meg Adkins: Start: Butterfield Bermuda Championship. Sit: RSM Classic. The more quirky the fall series is, the better, and Bermuda delivers the weird. The weather is unpredictable, there are nightmare travel stories from players every year, and the sponsor, Butterfield Bank, doesn’t quite pass the smell test. In contrast, the RSM doesn’t offer much to differentiate itself from other run-of-the-mill PGA Tour stops. I also don’t see how it can go on without (King) Charles Howell III in attendance. CH3 hasn’t missed an appearance at Sea Island, and it’s a place that played a huge part in him breaking the $1 million earnings mark twenty seasons in a row. The folks at Sea Island need to shut it down and hope that God saves King CH3 at his new LIV home.
Garrett Morrison: Start: Cadence Bank Houston Open. Sit: Zozo Championship. Okay, chill! Put down the pitchforks. I’m not saying the PGA Tour should get rid of its only event in Japan. I’m saying the Zozo Championship should be removed from the fall schedule and given a prime spot in the spring. The Zozo should be a big-time tournament, a global showcase headlined by Hideki Matsuyama and other Japanese stars. The PGA Tour’s “offseason” should be more about scrappy events in which scrappy players battle for status. A city open at a Tom Doak-redesigned municipal course fits the bill. Make the fall series about the Fortinets, the Sandersons, and the Houston Opens. Save the Zozos for the main stage.
Tom Doak's plan for the renovated Memorial Park. Credit: Renaissance Golf Design
Brendan Porath: Start: Sanderson Farms Championship. Sit: RSM Classic. It would be a shame to lose the only rooster trophy on tour. More seriously, the Sanderson has persisted in the face of conditions that would have led to many other tournaments’ demise. It hits a mid-market, and gets to the guts and roots of a past era on tour, when pros would drive their cars into towns like Jackson. They have had a local title sponsor and community supporting the event even when its field and future seemed dire. The RSM, on the other hand, is at a resort island. It’s a very nice one that you can go visit, but it’s already golf-crazed and doesn’t need a pro event to create interest in the area. It’s a sleepy stop that does nothing for me.
What is something or someone about this specific fall schedule that you’re most intrigued to watch or follow?
Brendan: I’m curious who shows up to these events from the upper crust of the PGA Tour. We tend to associate these events with rookies, journeymen, and also-rans getting a chance to pick off some points. But last year’s run of winners included Homa, Burns, Rory, Sungjae, Hideki, Hovland, and Gooch. With the elevated series coming, the LIV poach that’s already occurred, and a Pres Cup occupying some stars’ time, this feels like it could be an especially slim lame-duck fall session all while LIV globe trots. That’s not a very optimistic answer, so I’ll also say Carl Yuan’s funky ass swing and new-age game.
Garrett: I’ll be honest. I hardly ever understand what’s happening in the fall on the PGA Tour. It’s not clear to me who needs status, who has it locked up, and what good and bad results mean for particular players. This is partly because I’m not very smart and I don’t really pay attention. But I also think the PGA Tour’s fall series can and should have better-defined characters, stakes, and outcomes. Maybe we’ll get that in 2023. In the meantime, I’ll do my best to track the fortunes of a few intriguing KFT grads: Justin Suh (ex-USC stud and KFT Championship winner), Carl Yuan (an eccentric already mentioned by Brendan), Davis Thompson (who posted a Thursday 69 at Winged Foot in 2020), and Marty Dou (for Will Knights’s sake).
Meg: I’m in the same boat as Brendan and Garrett. The uncertainty of who will show up at these events will likely lead to me tuning out for portions of the fall stretch. There is one week I’ll be paying close attention, though. The Sanderson never intrigued me until recently. That changed recently in large part to Will Bardwell’s piece on the little tournament that could. With so few details available about what exactly will happen to fall tournaments, I’m making it a point to watch the Sanderson this year. I’d love to see it produce an exciting finish with a big-name winner. If this is its last hurrah, let’s hope it goes out with a bang.
This piece originally appeared in The Fried Egg Newsletter. Subscribe for free and receive golf news and insight every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.