Moved date for Players, shortened playoffs among 2018-19 changes

The PGA Tour's 2018-19 season will look significantly different than in years past, a reality for months that became official Tuesday when commissioner Jay Monahan announced the details.

To accommodate the PGA Championship moving to May, the tour's flagship event, the Players Championship, will return to a March date that it held on the calendar through 2006. The FedEx Cup playoffs will end a month earlier and be condensed from four events to three, with the first tournament -- the Northern Trust -- rotating between New York and Boston.

The season features 46 events, starting with the Safeway Open in October and concluding with the Tour Championship, which will end Aug. 25, 2019, allowing the golf season to end before the start of football.

Two new tournaments will be part of the new season, back-to back events to be played in Detroit and Minneapolis in late June and early July. The 3M Open at TPC Twin Cities replaces a Champions Tour event held at the venue, and the Rocket Mortgage Classic takes the place of the Quicken Loans National, meaning Tiger Woods is losing one of the events that benefits his foundation.

As previously announced, the RBC Canadian Open is moving to the week before the U.S. Open, and its date following The Open is being filled by the World Golf Championship event that is moving from Akron, Ohio, to Memphis, Tennessee, and will now be known as the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.

The Houston Open, which had been played the week before the Masters, is moving to the fall in 2019. So is the Greenbrier tournament, which will now see the Minnesota event take its spot on the schedule.

After The Open and WGC-FedEx St. Jude, the Wyndham Championship will conclude the regular season, followed by playoff events for the top 125 (Northern Trust), top 70 (BMW Championship) and top 30 (Tour Championship) in FedEx Cup points.

Next year's Northern Trust will return to Liberty National in Jersey City, New Jersey, before heading to TPC Boston in 2020. The BMW Championship will be held at Chicago's Medinah No. 3 in 2019 followed by the Tour Championship at East Lake in Atlanta.

The PGA Tour is expected to announce a revamped playoff format later this year.

"We are extremely pleased with the way the schedule has come together, particularly with the number of changes that were involved and the strength of the partnerships required to achieve this new look," Monahan said in a statement. "It's been our stated objective for several years to create better sequencing of our tournaments that golf fans around the world can engage in from start to finish.

"And by concluding at the end of August, the FedEx Cup playoffs no longer have the challenge of sharing the stage with college and professional football. This will enhance the visibility of the FedEx Cup playoffs and overall fan engagement with the PGA Tour and the game as a whole."

The start of the schedule in the fall -- which, after the Safeway, takes the tour overseas for three events in Asia -- is basically the same through the Genesis Open at Riviera in late February. Then there is considerable change from past years.

The WGC-Mexico Championship moves up a week following Genesis and precedes the Honda Classic and Arnold Palmer Invitational. The Players Championship takes its new date in March and is followed by the Valspar Championship, giving Florida a swing of four consecutive events.

Valspar is followed by the WGC-Dell Match Play Championship and the Valero Texas Open, which precedes the Masters.

After the RBC Heritage and Zurich Classic of New Orleans comes the Wells Fargo Championship. The Dallas and Fort Worth tournaments are split by the PGA Championship, which will be played at Bethpage Black (May 16-19) as part of its new May date. Jack Nicklaus' Memorial Tournament takes its usual spot two weeks before the U.S. Open, with the Canadian Open in between.

While The Open, to be played at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland next year, becomes the last of the four majors, it will be a mad dash to the finish for PGA Tour players. If they play the following week's WGC event in Memphis, golfers are looking at five tournaments in six weeks to end the season.

Still to be determined is when the new fall schedule will begin in 2019 and how many tournaments will be part of it.