MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Players had much to say about the PGA TOUR’s new 2022 schedule at TPC Southwind while warming up for this week’s World Golf Championships FedEx St. Jude Invitational.
For starters when they’re here next year they’ll be in week one of the FedExCup Playoffs, as the FedEx St. Jude Championship will kick off the three-week Playoffs run for the PGA TOUR’s ultimate prize.
“Yeah, what a cool thing,” said Xander Schauffele, who is coming off his gold medal-winning performance at the Olympics in Japan. “… Any sort of course that’s difficult where you can shoot 3 to 4 under each day and have a good chance of winning is a good playoff course to have.”
What’s more, moving the Playoffs lid-lifter to Memphis seems like a natural fit considering FedEx, which has its headquarters here, is the umbrella sponsor of the season-long race for the FedExCup.
Week two will feature the BMW Championship, which moves to Wilmington Country Club in Delaware, while the season-ending, 30-man TOUR Championship will decide things from East Lake, as ever.
The other big news from Tuesday’s schedule announcement is that the Genesis Scottish Open, Barbasol Championship and Barracuda Championship will be co-sanctioned by the PGA TOUR and European Tour as part of a Strategic Alliance between the two.
PGA TOUR players can now earn FedExCup points at the Genesis in Scotland, while European Tour players will be able to earn Race to Dubai points at the Barbasol and Barracuda.
“It’s a small glimpse into the future,” said England’s Tommy Fleetwood.
Added Harris English, “I feel like it’s kind of helping both tours out.”
The Barbasol and Barracuda are back-to-back opposite-field events, with the former being played the same week as the Genesis Scottish Open and the latter running concurrently to the Open Championship. For both, the field will go from 120 to 156 players, and include not just PGA TOUR pros but also the top 50 available players from the European Tour Eligibility Ranking.
How this will play out remains to be seen, but more cross-pollination seems likely. English, for example, has never played in the Scottish; he said it was just too hard to turn his back on the FedExCup points and purses on offer on the PGA TOUR. Now, though, he’s pivoting.
“I’ll definitely play it next year and be over there for two weeks,” he said. “I think it’s cool; I definitely would like to play more in Europe. I think more Americans will go over there.”
That’s music to the ears of Martin Laird, a Scottish TOUR pro who is based in Orlando.
“I think it will bring more people to play in the Scottish Open,” he said. “They already get a lot of great players, but this will only help the field further. It’s great for Scotland.”
In a sense, Laird added, the addition of FedExCup points to the Genesis Scottish Open makes it on par with the Asian Swing tournaments on the PGA TOUR’s fall schedule.
“Everyone knows the PGA TOUR is becoming worldwide,” he said. “It’s kind of going that way. We play in Mexico, we play in a bunch of different countries already. When the TOUR and the European Tour teamed up, we all kind of knew this was in the cards at some point.”
The purse breakdown for the Genesis Scottish Open will be similar to that of a WGC event, and the winner will receive not just 500 FedExCup points but also a two-season TOUR exemption.
European Tour members who win the Scottish will get a three-season exemption on that tour.
“I love the partnership with the European Tour,” said Will Zalatoris. “I think it’s great. A lot of guys go over for the Scottish anyways, so I think it’s a great move for the TOUR. It’s good for the PGA TOUR, good for the European Tour, it’s a win-win for everybody.”