As the first season of the revamped schedule hits the homestretch, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has no qualms about how it has played out.
The major championships have provided great drama with Tiger Woods, Brooks Koepka and Gary Woodland securing titles.
The Tour has seen an influx of young talent have immediate success.
And its events are generating millions of dollars for charity.
“What you’ve seen unfold is exactly what we hoped would unfold,” Monahan said after playing in Wednesday’s Pro-Am at the John Deere Classic. “We have such great depth now, and we had players play a lot of events early and build momentum.
“My barometer is how players and the fans respond. We’re setting records week in and week out with net proceeds to charity, seeing great galleries and great energy.”
There has been a signature event each month since March — The Players Championship, Masters, PGA Championship and U.S. Open. The Open Championship is next week and the three FedEx Cup playoff events are contested in August.
There are only four weeks remaining to qualify for the playoffs (top 125).
“There is a ton of tension out here with guys trying to get in the top 125 and retaining their card,” Monahan said. “That’s what you like to see at the end of the season.”
It has required players to make difficult decisions with their playing schedule. The JDC doesn’t have a player in the field in the Official World Golf Rankings Top 50 for the first time since 2002.
“There are no weaknesses out here,” Monahan said. “We have great tournaments, and this is certainly one of them.
“You’re still going to see a great, compelling competition on a golf course that seems to create it year in and year out. Year in and year out, fields fluctuate. It is the nature of the business.”
Next season is an Olympic year. With that, there will be tweaks to the schedule.
During the 2016 Olympics, the JDC slid from its usual July date to August. When asked if the JDC would be impacted again next year, Monahan did not give a definitive answer.
The 2019-20 Tour schedule is expected to be released in the coming weeks.
“It is wonderful we’re in the Olympics, great for the game and helps us to grow the game around the world, but there is no question it creates some challenges for us scheduling-wise,” Monahan said. “I would maintain this event, as it did in 2016, will perform very well regardless of where it is on the schedule.”
This was the second time in three years Monahan has participated in the Pro-Am at Deere Run. He played alongside Deere & Co. CEO Sam Allen and his son, Brant, along with volunteer chairman Sean McGuire, defending champion Michael Kim (front nine) and recent PGA Tour winner Nate Lashley (back nine).
“When Sam asked me to play, that was the quickest yes he ever got,” Monahan said. “I love this place. I think about what has been created here in 49 years and what has happened under Sam’s tenure is extraordinary.
“I enjoyed every second of my walk. We don’t measure pride, enthusiasm and the soul of an event, but when you come to this event, you see it. It is really an important event to our schedule, and that’s why I’m here and why we’re here as a team.”