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Len Ziehm On Golf

JDC’s 50th anniversary staging maintains its spot on revised PGA Tour schedule

While the PGA Tour schedule remained in a state of flux on Thursday, there were some noteworthy developments. Two involved Illinois tournaments.

The Evans Scholars Invitational, scheduled as the next event on the PGA’s alternate Korn Ferry Tour, won’t make its scheduled May 20-24 playing at The Glen Club, in Glenview. It’s not being cancelled, though.

And the John Deere Classic, the annual PGA Tour stop in the Quad Cities, will not only remain on its July 6-12 dates at TPC Deere Run, in downstate Silvis. It is also being targeted as the first PGA stop to allow spectators since the coronavirus pandemic forced a series of postponements and cancellations on both circuits.

It’s a big year for the JDC. The tourney will be celebrating its 50th anniversary and its volunteer staff was alerted on Thursday that it should be prepared to welcome spectators. According to the PGA Tour’s revamped schedule, released on Thursday, the first four tournaments will be closed to the general public. That policy could change, though, based on recommendations of local and state authorities in each market.

The latest schedule has the PGA Tour resuming play at the Charles Schwab Challenge, at Colonial in Ft. Worth, TX., the week of June 8-14. That event was to be played from May 18-24 – the same dates as the Korn Ferry event at The Glen Club – but was pushed back as other dates opened up.

The RBC Heritage, at Harbour Town Golf Links in South Carolina, is getting a second chance at playing. The tournament was to be played the week after the Masters in April. Now it’s scheduled for June 15-21 – the dates originally planned for the U.S. Open.

Also preceding the JDC are the Travelers Championship, in Connecticut, June 22-28 and the Rocket Mortgage Classic, in Detroit, July 2-5.

The John Deere Classic is traditionally held the week before the British Open, but the British has already been cancelled. Taking over the British dates is Jack Nicklaus’ Memorial tournament in Ohio July 13-19. It had originally been scheduled in May.

There will be only three major championships this year instead of the usual four. The PGA Championship, at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, is Aug. 3-9 and PGA officials say it will go on without spectators if conditions demand it. The PGA of America, adamant about using those dates, said the tourney could also be moved if conditions require it.

The U.S. Open, at New York’s Winged Foot course, is on Sept. 14-20, a week before the Ryder Cup matches between the U.S. and Europe at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin. The Masters tournament has been rescheduled for Nov. 9-15 in Georgia.

With 22 events having been played through the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, the adjusted season-long schedule – again subject to change – will consist of 36 events including three Fed Ex Cup Playoff events. The second of those is the BMW Championship. It was previously moved back a week, to Aug. 24-30, and will remain at Olympia Fields in Chicago’s south suburbs.

Thursday’s announcements also revealed that the Canadian Open and Barbasol Championship on the PGA Tour have been cancelled and the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship in the Dominican Republic has been moved to Sept. 21-27. It’ll be played opposite the Ryder Cup matches.

In addition, A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier won’t be on the PGA Tour’s fall schedule. It’s ending its 10-year run by mutual agreement with the tour. It was under contract through 2026 at the West Virginia resort owned by West Virginia Governor Jim Justice.

As for the Evans Scholars Invitational, which made its debut on the Korn Ferry circuit last year, the Western Golf Association is working with the PGA Tour on finding dates later in the year. Three other Korn Ferry tournaments were cancelled on Thursday.

“We conduct the Evans Scholars Invitational to raise funds and greater awareness for the Evans Scholars Foundation’s scholarship programs for caddies, and we’re looking forward to the opportunity to hold the invitational at a later date,’’ said Vince Pellegrino, the WGA’s senior vice president for tournaments. “We’re disappointed that we won’t be able to conduct the Evans Scholars Invitational in May. However, our first priority remains the health and safety of the players, fans, sponsors, volunteers and everyone in the local community.’’

The Korn Ferry features 28 tournaments played in 20 states and four countries outside the U.S.. That league’s season culminates with the Korn Ferry Tour Finals in August. Its top players have a direct path to the PGA Tour for the 2020-21 season. The Korn Ferry is scheduled to return to competition with a new tournament in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, the week of June 8-14 without fans in attendance.