Dean and DeLuca Tournament director Michael Tothe is not worried, so let’s do it for him.
Other than Memorial, where golfing God Jack Nicklaus is the host, most tournaments outside of the majors are in the same fight as Colonial to land name PGA draws like Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia et all.
PGA pros are a fickle bunch, and tournaments are beholden to their whims. Despite the many assets Colonial can pitch to a PGA Tour pro in an effort to secure their appearance at their event, there is zero guarantee a guy will show.
The PGA’s announcement that it will move the PGA Championship to the month of May in 2019 is an effort for the game’s Majors to conclude before the start of football season, and to accommodate the game’s presence in the Olympics.
Associated Press golf writer Doug Ferguson broke this story earlier this week that the PGA of America and PGA Tour had made this decision to dramatically alter the annual golf calendar. This development could be a major wrench for the Dean and DeLuca Invitational at Colonial in Fort Worth, as well as the Nelson, which typically is the week before Colonial.
“We all know they wanted to do this for a while but I really don’t know how this will go or play out until we get in the throes of it,” Tothe told me in a phone interview this week. “I do think we are fortunate because we do have a good history and the pros like our course. I’m really not worried about it.”
Colonial will not know its 2019 tournament date until the week of the tournament in 2018.
“I bet if you talked 20 guys in my role, I bet everybody thinks there is a better date,” Tothe told me this week. “For a community-based event, Memorial Day sets up good for us.”
The concern is, and should be, established, big-name tour pros may skip Colonial in an effort to prepare, or take a break, from a major. Depending on the schedule, tour pros tend to gear up for the Masters in April, and then the U.S. Open in June.
Any time a schedule shift is announced, tournaments like Colonial tend to sweat. For good reason.
Tothe is banking that the pull of Colonial will keep the tournament at its current state, and hopeful the event remains on Memorial Day weekend.
While he may be sweating where the PGA will plop his tournament in 2019, he could celebrate the news out of Europe this week. The Euro Tour’s signature event, the BMW PGA Championship, will relocate its date from May to September. That event typically fell right on top of Colonial, and for years was one of the reasons we never saw Tiger Woods return to Hogan’s Alley, among others.
That excuse will be gone.
“Look at the guys who have played our event and won and come back. There’s Sergio (Garcia). Jon Rahm. Adam Scott,” Tothe said. “Jordan Spieth is, I think, always going to be committed to us and The Nelson. And if the BMW really does move it could open the door for guys like Rory, Ian Poulter and the European players who don’t have the chance to play here.”
Tothe is not worried, so neither should Colonial or Fort Worth, but always know PGAers are a fickle bunch.
Mac Engel: @macengelprof