The calendar seems to turn as quickly as we can press our finger to the screen and scroll down on our phones. Is it really approaching three years since Tiger Woods’ incredible triumph in the Masters? Or more than 10 months since the car accident that again altered the path of his life? We have our memories, good and bad, but the beauty of sports is that it gives us seasons for which to look forward, when all is new and possible. And no campaign, of course, is longer than in golf, which delivers nearly a full 12 months of thrills and heartbreak.
This week, the PGA Tour’s West Coast Swing starts again with the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Maui. The wraparound season had already begun, but for many, the images of palm trees blowing in the Hawaiian breeze at Kapalua give us reason enough to feel warmly optimistic about what the coming golf year will bring. With that in mind, we offer a few of those dates you might want to circle on your calendars—and not just the ones you think—as you look ahead to another intriguing year in our sport.
Jan. 30: APGA Tour plays on the big stage
Just like most pro mini tours, the Advocates Pro Golf Association—a circuit founded to provide more professional playing opportunities for minorities—has mostly toiled in anonymity. It got some exposure in 2021 when the Farmers Insurance Open offered a special exemption to APGA standout Kamaiu Johnson, and now the APGA is getting a chance to take a far bigger stage. After the Farmers Insurance Open finishes on Saturday, the APGA will be on Golf Channel on Sunday when it plays the Torrey Pines’ South Course in the final round of its 36-hole event, called APGATOUR at the Farmers Insurance Open (the PGA Tour event wrapping up the previous day). Is there a star in the making for us to discover? We’ll see.
Feb. 3-6: Saudi International
In any other year, the Saudi event—which was formerly a part of the DP World Tour (which was formerly the European Tour)—was merely a curiosity to American fans, mostly to see which PGA Tour players were drawn to the Middle East for sizeable appearance fees. This year, it seems far more compelling now that the talk of rival tours has heated up, and the PGA Tour has given permission to its players to jump on their private jets (and pad their bank accounts) in what is now an Asian Tour event. Among them is Phil Mickelson, who will miss Pebble Beach, where he’s won five times.
March 10-13: Players Championship
It’s crazy to consider that the week of the Players will mark two years since the pandemic turned our lives upside down. Depending on how the first couple of months go with the Omicron variant, the tournament is expected to greet full galleries after being wiped out after one round in 2020 and limited to 20 percent capacity in 2021. Justin Thomas is the defending champion after narrowly making the cut and then rallying on Sunday to overtake Bryson DeChambeau and Lee Westwood.
March 27: Last chance (almost) for the Masters
The last opportunity to reach Augusta National—aside from winning the Valero Texas Open in the week prior—is to get into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking at the end of the Corales Puntacana Championship. Good luck, bubble dwellers.
March 31-April 3: The Chevron Championship
Tears no doubt will flow for some when the LPGA plays the event for one last time at Mission Hills and the California desert, home to the tournament since it was founded by Dinah Shore in 1972. With Chevron as its new sponsor, the tour’s first major of the year since 1983 is set to move to the Houston area beginning in 2023. Patty Tavatanakit defends after an impressive breakout win in ’21.
April 7-10: Masters
The color and atmosphere of the men’s first major of the year is expected to return to full bloom after two years of missing Augusta’s most cherished gift: the roars. Hideki Matsuyama will be back as defending champion after his history-making turn last April.
May 19-22: PGA Championship
Is it possible Tulsa’s weather will actually be tolerable in mid-May? Southern Hills Country Club has hosted some oppressively sweaty summer majors, but this one might get a break with a spring date that opened when the PGA of America yanked the event from Trump Bedminster after the Capitol riots on Jan. 6, 2021. Phil Mickelson is the defending champ from Kiawah, while the last man to win a major in Tulsa (Tiger Woods in the 2007 PGA) very likely will be watching from his couch.
June 2-5: U.S. Women’s Open
Pine Needles in Southern Pines, N.C., this year’s host, only got into the USGA Women’s Open rotation in 1996. But it has delivered impressive champions since: Annika Sorenstam in ’96, Karrie Webb in ’01 and Cristie Kerr in ’07. Yuka Saso of the Philippines defends after winning last year’s Open in a playoff at The Olympic Club.
June 7: Golf’s Longest Day
Ten sites … more than 800 players … 36 holes. And to the most talented and courageous on “Golf’s Longest Day,” there awaits a spot in the U.S. Open. There are 11 final qualifiers (the one outside of the U.S. being in Japan), and June 7 marks the 10 contested around the country in America. Last year, former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel made it through the gantlet, as did Wilson Furr, a University of Alabama star who didn’t even have a spot in his qualifier until some late withdrawals. Therein lies the beauty of the Longest Day.
June 16-19: U.S. Open
With the national championship returning to The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., for the first time since 1988, you’ll do yourself a favor if you brush up by reading one of the best golf books of all-time—Mark Frost’s The Greatest Game Ever Played—that recounts amateur Francis Ouimet’s Brookline triumph in 1913. Of course, memories of the Americans’ Sunday comeback at Brookline in the 1999 Ryder Cup linger, too. Jon Rahm is the defending champion from Torrey Pines, while Englishman Matt Fitzpatrick has a shot to pull off a USGA double after seizing the 2013 U.S. Amateur at Brookline.
July 14-17: Open Championship
A visit to St. Andrews makes every Open there special, but this one is particularly notable. It’s the 150th playing of the championship that was first contested in 1860. This will be the 30th Open played at the Home of Golf, with Zach Johnson being the last to win on the Old Course in 2015. Collin Morikawa will defend the title he captured last year at Royal St. George’s.
July 18-20: Inaugural U.S. Adaptive Open Championship
With a progressive stroke of inspiration, the USGA will hold the inaugural U.S. Adaptive Open Championship on the No. 6 Course at Pinehurst. The 54-hole event is open to men and women who have a physical, sensory or intellectual impairment. We’re looking forward to seeing and hearing the heroic stories for this one.
Aug. 11: FedEx Cup Playoffs begin
At a time in summer when we used to gear up for the PGA Championship, the PGA Tour begins its postseason with the FedEx St. Jude Championship. The top 125 from the FedEx Cup points list will qualify before being trimmed to 70 players for the following week’s BMW Championship. The BMW is scheduled for Wilmington Country Club, marking the first time the tour has staged an event in Delaware.
Aug. 25-28: Tour Championship
The top 30 from the BMW reach East Lake in Atlanta, where the FedEx Cup will be awarded for the 16th time. The financial stakes have never been sweeter, with the winner getting a record $18 million. Four of the last five champs have been first-timers. Anyone else like Jon Rahm or Xander Schauffele?
Sept. 22-25: Presidents Cup
Pushed back a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the matches between the U.S. and Internationals will be played at Quail Hollow in Charlotte. Trevor Immelman helms the Internationals opposite of Davis Love III, who must be feeling confident for two reasons: The Americans dominated Europe in the 2021 Ryder Cup and the U.S. has lost only once in the previous 13 contests—that lone time coming in Australia.
Dec. 31: Rules of Golf study day
On Jan. 1, 2023, the USGA and R&A will make their next update to the Rules of Golf, the first since the governing bodies modernized the rules back in 2019. You shouldn’t expect a complete overhaul like we saw four years ago, but if history tells us anything, there will likely be a handful of adjustments everyday players will need to note (changes have yet to be announced but will likely come by the end of the summer). Before the ball drops on New Year’s Eve, you might take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the 2023 Rules.