weather icon Mostly Cloudy
RJ App
Vegas News, Alerts, ePaper

PGA Tour players expect to keep putting Las Vegas on their schedule

Mark Twain would be right about the future of the Shriners Children’s Open and the rest of the fall events on the PGA Tour schedule. Reports of their death have been greatly exaggerated.

As the PGA Tour makes drastic changes to its schedule to combat the impact of LIV Golf, the status of the fall events became a huge question mark over the summer. But many players who were in Las Vegas last week said they are looking forward to returning in 2023 and beyond when the tournament becomes part of the tail end of the schedule rather than at the start of the current wraparound season.

New champion Tom Kim said he has defense of his title already penciled in to his schedule.

“I want to play Vegas,” Kim said. “I think it’s a great spot, and the course kind of suits my game.”

Other stars like Max Homa and Patrick Cantley see no reason why the new schedule will keep them away from the fall events.

“The golf tournaments are awesome,” Homa said of the fall run. “This run of I don’t know how many it is now, six to eight events, are great, so I enjoy playing them. So that’s another bonus. I enjoy playing golf; there’s a third bonus.

“But just in general, we’re not going to have this schedule going forward next year, but these are great events that I would assume I’m still going to keep playing.”

What exactly happens to the fall events has not been completely ironed out by the tour. What is known is the regular season will begin in January and end at the Tour Championship in August. At that point, the top 70 players will lock up their playing privileges for the following year.

The fall events will then be used for the remaining players to stay inside the top 125 on the points list to secure their playing cards. But that won’t prevent those in the top 70 from playing.

“The tour hasn’t officially told us what’s going to happen next fall as of yet, but I think they’re going to be vital next season — or the end of this upcoming season as far as guys from 50 to 125,” veteran Kevin Streelman said. “There’s going to be good story lines there. So there will be exciting finishes to tournaments with people trying to keep their jobs.”

He noted there are other reasons to play in Las Vegas as well.

“It’s an important tournament to me. What the Shriners do for children, as the father of an 8-year-old and 6-year-old, it means a lot,” he said. “So I really hope we can continue to come back here and support Shriners and support the tour and this great city of Las Vegas.”

Shriners signed a five-year extension last year to remain the title sponsor of the tournament through 2026. The tournament has been played at a variety of venues and under different names annually in Las Vegas for 40 years.

Jason Day believes where an event falls on the calendar isn’t as important as playing on the right courses in tournament conditions and building toward something.

“For me personally, I think some of these golf courses, even though I haven’t typically played well in the past, I like the way they look and like the way they set up,” he said. “I’m trying to get some good momentum going.”

World rankings

With his victory in Las Vegas, Kim moved up to 15th in this week’s official world rankings, moving him ahead of both Hideki Matsuyama and Sungjae Im as the top-ranked Asian player in the world. To illustrate the trajectory Kim has been on, one year ago this week he was No.. 151.

Meanwhile, Matthew NeSmith, who shared second at TPC Summerlin, cracked the top 100 for the first time in his career, sitting at 98th.

Among Las Vegas players, Xander Schauffele (No. 6) and Collin Morikawa (N0. 9) lead the way.

Greg Robertson covers golf for the Review-Journal. He can be reached at grobertson@reviewjournal.com.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.