Less than three weeks after Rory McIlroy claimed the FedEx Cup championship to end the 2019 season, the 2020 PGA Tour will kick off on Thursday with an event at the Greenbrier in West Virginia.
The short offseason is nothing new for professional golfers, who have gotten accustomed to a sport in which there is virtually no offseason at all, especially since the PGA Tour went to a wraparound scheduled starting late in 2013 for the 2014 campaign.
PGA Tour Adding Importance to Fall Schedule
Once upon a time, the top golfers in the world were likely to skip most or all of the fall schedule, allowing themselves to rest up to begin a new season after the calendar turned over in January. But there are now 11 events scheduled over the coming 11 weeks, offering up too many points and too much money for any player to ignore.
The fall schedule will begin with a series of tournaments in the United States, after which a three-tournament Asian swing will take place in late October. The fall schedule wraps up just before Thanksgiving with the RSM Classic at Sea Island, Georgia.
Fans of the PGA Tour won’t be seeing any changes as notable as the new rules that were put into place for the 2019 season, such as allowing golfers the option of leaving the flagstick in while putting. However, there have been some adjustments made to how the tour will treat cut lines after 36-holes. The new standard will see the top 65 players and ties move on for the final two rounds, rather than the top 70. However, there will no longer be a secondary cut after 54 hours if the field exceeds 78 players after the first cut.
Other changes may be a bit more subtle. The PGA Tour is reviewing its pace-of-play policies, largely because of complaints directed toward Bryson DeChambeau late last season. A new driver testing protocol will also be in place as the tour continues to become more diligent in its attempts to ensure all players are using compliant equipment.
Koepka Favored for Most Honors Heading Into 2020
The new season also means new betting markets for gamblers to jump into. FanDuel Sportsbook is taking wagers on which player will lead the 2020 PGA Tour money list, with defending PGA Championship winner and last season’s leading money winner, Brooks Koepka (+280) listed as the favorite ahead of Rory McIlroy (+400). Those two are the clear frontrunners, though Dustin Johnson (+800), Jon Rahm (+1000), and Justin Thomas (+1000) are also expected to be in the hunt.
Of course, bettors can put down money on this weekend’s tournament at the Greenbrier as well, with DeChambeau and Viktor Hovland listed as co-favorites at +1300, just ahead of Jason Kokrak (+1400).
But for those who want to look ahead, odds on the first two 2020 majors have already been available for some time. Koepka (+750) is the favorite at the Masters, ahead of McIlroy (+850), Johnson (+1200), and Tiger Woods (+1200).
The story is largely similar for the PGA Championship. Koepka and McIlroy are again listed at +750 and +850 respectively, though Johnson’s odds are slightly shorter at +1100. Woods remains the fourth choice, but bookmakers are being slightly more generous, offering +1400 on the 15-time major champion.