Though we are not yet out of the woods with regards to the Coronavirus, the PGA tour is trying their best to do their part in an effort to return the world of sports to a state of normality. This will take shape in the upcoming Charles Schwab Challenge.
PGA Tour Returns to Texas
The PGA tour will officially return this Thursday when the grouping of Ryan Palmer, Brian Harman and Bill Haas, along with the paring of J.J. Henry and Tom Hoge, hit the #1 and #9 tee boxes at 6:50 am and kick off the Charles Schwab Challenge.
This is the first PGA sanctioned tournament since the Players Championship was canceled after just one round back on March 12th. The tournament takes place at the Colonial Country Club, a beautiful par-70 course located in Fort Worth, Texas. The purse is $7,500,000.
The Advantage of Playing Golf
While it is likely most of these players will have some rust to shake off, the hope is by the time the cut is made Friday evening, everyone who is on the right side of it will be back in full swing (pun intended) playing at the top of their game.
Unlike basketball, baseball, football or hockey, the members of the PGA Tour have not had to take extended time off from realistic competition within their sport.
While it is true major courses were shut down, many of the players are fortunate enough to either have their own, or access to their own private facilities, and were likely playing plenty of golf against other people during the three-month lay off.
A few select players even had the chance to compete in real, televised completion during the TaylorMade Driving Relief and Capital One’s The Match: Champions for Charity, both of which were great events and raised roughly 25 million dollars for COVID relief efforts.
In addition to that, PGA pros always get the first few days of the week to practice on the course as much as they would like. I’m sure the 2020 Charles Schwab Challenge will have the busiest/most important practice rounds a PGA tournament has seen in decades.
What Will the Charles Schwab Challenge Look Like?
This Charles Schwab Challenge is unique and exciting in many ways.
The tournament itself is not necessarily the most important or saught after in the midst of a typical PGA Tour season, but this year it would be a major addition to any trophy case.
A couple things that are different this year are the size of the field, and the quality of competition within that field.
A typical Charles Schwab will have 120 competitors. This week however, we will get to watch 148 of them, making it somewhat comparable to the Players Championship we were robbed of back in March.
One of those 148 is Rory McIlroy, who has been playing on the PGA Tour since 2009, and is currently the number one ranked golfer in the world. Despite all of that, he will be making his very first appearance at the Charles Schwab Challenge.
The Colonial Country Club is not a particularly challenging course. Even with the small potential of struggles from the extended lay-off, you should still expect to see many double digit scores at the top of the leader board.
The course does not allow for long players to just get up there and blast away. Everyone will need to be precise and have their irons dialed in, in order to take full advantage of what the 7,200-yard par-70 has to offer.
Day One Groupings/Tee Times
The most notable of the Day 1 groupings consists of the aforementioned McIlroy, along with Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka who, together, represent the top three players in the world. They will tee off at 2:06 P.M. and will be together both Thursday and Friday.
Other groups to keep an eye on are:
Patrick Reed, Marc Leishman, Graeme McDowell – 8:34 a.m.
Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose, Bryson DeChambeau – 8:45 a.m.
Matthew Wolff, Corey Conners, Louis Oosthuizen – 8:56 a.m.
Kevin Na (defending champion), Gary Woodland, Phil Mickelson – 8:56 a.m.
Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth – 1:55 p.m.
Kevin Kisner, Xander Schauffele, Jim Furyk – 1:55 p.m.
Webb Simpson, Matt Kuchar and Tony Finau – 2:17 p.m.
Keegan Bradley, Jason Day, Si Woo Kim – 2:17 p.m.
How to Follow the Charles Schwab Challenge
TV coverage of the tournament is as follows:
Thursday: 3-6 p.m. ET on Golf Channel
Friday: 3-6 p.m. ET on Golf Channel
Saturday: 12-2 p.m. ET on Golf Channel; 2-5 p.m. ET on CBS
Sunday: 12-2 p.m. ET on Golf Channel; 2-5 p.m. ET on CBS
You can also watch the event live in its entirety of the Charles Schwab Challenge with a subscription to PGA Tour Live, available online or on the App.
The new PGA schedule can be found in its entirety here: https://www.pgatour.com/tournaments/schedule.html