PGA Tour officials are replacing the recently canceled John Deere Classic tournament with a second event at Muirfield Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio. The new tournament will precede the Memorial Tournament, the long time tour event hosted by Jack Nicklaus.
The new Muirfield event will be held the week before the Memorial on July 9-12. The Memorial will run from July 16-19.
The second Muirfield event became possible when the John Deere Classic was canceled last week. John Deere tournament director Claire Peterson said it’s not possible for organizers to host the event, especially with the prospect of not having a pro-am or spectators.
“Because of the ongoing health and safety concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic, the difficult decision was made to cancel the 2020 John Deere Classic,” Peterson said. “While we considered several alternatives for the Classic, this was the choice that made the most sense for our guests, the players, and the Quad City community at large.”
Workday, Muirfield Step Up
It didn’t take long for the PGA Tour to find a replacement for the John Deere. Workday Inc. signed on as the title sponsor for the second Muirfield event. Workday, a management software vendor, already has sponsorship deals with golfers Phil Mickelson, Davis Love III, Matt Kuchar, Brandt Snedeker, and Matt Fitzpatrick.
The PGA is due to reveal details of the new tournament next week. At present, there is no name for the tournament, nor is there any information on the size of the purse. We do know the tournament will feature a 156-player field and be held with no pro-am or spectators.
Having two consecutive tournaments at the same facility is what NASCAR did with its first four races. The first two were at Darlington Motor Speedway on Sunday and Wednesday, while the next two were held at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday and Thursday.
The PGA Tour has instituted new safety protocols for tournaments that include extensive testing of both players and caddies, a designated hotel for most players to stay at, and minimal personnel on the golf course that is hosting a tournament.
Tour Resumes June 11 with Charles Schwab Challenge
The protocols will be first tested at next week’s Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas. The Schwab is the first PGA Tour event since the season was postponed after the first found of The Players Championship on March 12.
Many top players have committed to the event, including Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, and Brooks Koepka. McIlroy is the early 8/1 favorite at Caesars Palace sportsbook.
Tiger Woods has not yet committed to the event, and it is unlikely that he will play. Woods is fresh off The Match II, an exhibition event he played last week. Woods paired with Peyton Manning to defeat Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady, raising $20 million for COVID-19 relief efforts.
The next tournament Woods is likely to play is The Memorial.