CARNOUSTIE, Scotland — Jordan Spieth returned the Claret Jug on Monday. His bid to regain golf’s oldest title will begin at 4:58 a.m. ET on Thursday. Spieth will play alongside Justin Rose and Kiradech Aphibarnrat in one of the star-studded groups at Carnoustie.
The northern-most course in The Open’s rota also is the most difficult. “Car-Nasty” rewards the game’s best players, though. Five of the seven winners here on the coast of the North Sea are in the World Golf Hall of Fame, and another Carnoustie champion, Padraig Harrington, seems a sure-fire inductee.
Here’s a closer look at some of the other groups that will draw the lion’s share of the eyeballs here in Scotland. (Note: FedExCup ranking in parentheses; all times Eastern; all groups start on No. 1).
😍 Carnoustie Golf Links
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) July 16, 2018
Phil Mickelson (8), Satoshi Kodaira (70), Rafa Cabrera Bello (64): Mickelson won this season’s World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship, his first win since hoisting the Claret Jug in 2013. Kodaira earned his first PGA TOUR victory at this year’s RBC heritage, while Cabrera Bello has three top-10s this season.
Tee times: 3:03 a.m. on Thursday; 8:04 a.m. on Friday.
Si Woo Kim (41), Webb Simpson (11), Nicola Hojgaard (NR): The past two PLAYERS champions are paired for the first two rounds at Carnoustie. Simpson won this year’s PLAYERS by four shots. It was his first victory since the 2013 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. They’re playing alongside Danish amateur Nicola Hojgaard.
Tee time: 3:25 a.m. on Thursday; 8:26 a.m. on Friday.
Justin Rose (4), Jordan Spieth (40), Kiradech Aphibarnrat (NR): Rose won earlier this season at another course dubbed Hogan’s Alley. He displayed impressive iron play in winning the Fort Worth Invitational at Colonial. He also won this season’s World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions. Spieth will try to solve his putting woes at the event of his most recent PGA TOUR victory. Aphibarnrat recently accepted Special Temporary Membership on the PGA TOUR after finishing T5 in two World Golf Championships (Mexico Championship, Dell Technologies Match Play).
Tee times: 4:58 a.m. on Thursday; 9:59 a.m. on Friday.
Jon Rahm (14), Rickie Fowler (16), Chris Wood (NR): This group features two of the top 20 players in the FedExCup, and two players hungry for their first major. Rahm won this season’s CareerBuilder Challenge. Fowler, the 2015 PLAYERS champion, has two runners-up this season (OHL Classic at Mayakoba, Masters). England’s Wood has two top-5 finishes at The Open.
Tee times: 5:09 a.m. on Thursday; 10:10 a.m. on Friday.
Louis Oosthuizen (75), Paul Casey (12), Patrick Reed (7): Reed rides a string of three consecutive top-four finishes in majors into The Open Championship. He finished second at last year’s PGA before winning the Masters and finishing fourth at the U.S. Open. Casey won this season’s Valspar Championship for his second PGA TOUR victory. Oosthuizen won the 2010 Open Championship at St. Andrews and lost in a playoff to Zach Johnson when The Open returned there in 2015.
Tee times: 5:20 a.m. on Thursday; 10:21 a.m. on Friday.
Henrik Stenson (43), Tommy Fleetwood (32), Jimmy Walker (53): In 2016, Stenson added The Open Championship to a sterling resume that already included THE PLAYERS Championship and FedExCup. Fleetwood is coming off a runner-up at Shinnecock Hills that included a final-round 63, while Walker was runner-up at this year’s THE PLAYERS.
Tee times: 7:31 a.m. on Thursday; 2:30 a.m. on Friday.
Rory McIlroy (39), Marc Leishman (20), Thorbjorn Olesen (NR): McIlroy returns to a course where he won the Silver Medal as the low amateur. He was in third place after shooting 68 in the first round of the 2007 Open before finishing 42nd. McIlroy won The Open in 2014 and added the FedExCup two years later. He and Leishman represent the past two champions of the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard, as well. Leishman was part of the three-man playoff won by Zach Johnson in the 2015 Open at St. Andrews. Olesen is coming off a recent victory at the Italian Open.
Tee time: 7:53 a.m. on Thursday; 2:52 a.m. on Friday.
Dustin Johnson (1), Alex Noren (31), Charley Hoffman (102): The FedExCup leader is playing with a Presidents Cup teammate and a potential Ryder Cup foe. Johnson has won twice this season, an eight-shot victory at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and six-shot win at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. He is coming off the disappointment of losing a four-shot lead at the halfway point of the U.S. Open, though. Noren is playing his first season as a PGA TOUR member. He was a runner-up in a playoff to Jason Day at the Farmers Insurance Open. He recently won the French Open.
Tee times: 8:04 a.m. on Thursday; 3:03 a.m. on Friday.
Justin Thomas (2), Francesco Molinari (27), Branden Grace (74): The reigning FedExCup champion is playing alongside one of the game’s hottest players and the man who shot a record-setting round last year at Royal Birkdale. Thomas is second in this season’s FedExCup standings thanks to wins at the CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES and The Honda Classic. Molinari has two wins and two runners-up in his past five starts, with a T25 at Shinnecock Hills sandwiched in between. He picked up his first PGA TOUR win at the Quicken Loans National before finishing second in last week’s John Deere Classic. Grace shot 62 in last year’s Open Championship, the lowest round in major championship history.
Tee times: 8:26 a.m. on Thursday; 3:25 a.m. on Friday.
Sergio Garcia (128), Bryson DeChambeau (6), Shubankar Sharma (NR): Garcia returns to the site of one of several heartbreaking finishes that preceded his win in last year’s Masters. He missed a 10-foot par putt on the final hole here in 2007 before losing a playoff to Harrington. Garcia needs some good results to avoid missing the FedExCup Playoffs for the first time. DeChambeau, who’s in the middle of a breakout season that includes a victory at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide, withdrew from his title defense at last week’s John Deere Classic because of a shoulder injury. Sharma turned heads after holding the 54-hole lead at this year’s World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship.
Tee times: 10:10 a.m. on Thursday; 5:09 a.m. on Friday.
Ian Poulter (34), Cameron Smith (44), Brooks Koepka (13): Koepka, the first back-to-back U.S. Open champion in nearly three decades, will try to claim a different Open. He’s joined by England’s Poulter, who won this season’s Houston Open. Cameron Smith won last season’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans with Jonas Blixt.
Tee times: 9:59 a.m. on Thursday; 4:58 a.m. on Friday.
Tiger Woods (50), Hideki Matsuyama (81), Russell Knox (73): The local favorite will play alongside the 14-time major champion. Russell Knox, fresh off a victory at the Irish Open and runner-up at the French Open, is looking to become the first Scot to win The Open since Paul Lawrie won at Carnoustie in 1999. Knox’s Irish Open victory was his first since his dramatic win at the Travelers Championship in 2016. Carnoustie is the closest Open venue to his hometown of Inverness, which is three hours away. Woods, a three-time Open champion, has finished T7 and T12 in two Opens at Carnoustie, a course he has competed on since playing the Scottish Open as an amateur. Matsuyama, who has won five times over the previous four seasons, is in the midst of his first winless season since 2015. He won three times last season to finish eighth in the FedExCup.
Tee times: 10:21 a.m. on Thursday; 5:20 a.m. Eastern on Friday.
SOURCE: PGA Tour
Movement — and plenty of it — highlights the PGA Tour’s upcoming 2018-19 wraparound season.
Start with The Players Championship, the Tour’s flagship event, which moves back to March from its May spot. The PGA Championship, for decades the last major of the year, moves to May. And the FedExCup Playoffs, shortened from four to three events, moves so it will finish by the end of August and before the beginning of the NFL and college football seasons.
And two events — the Houston Open and A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier — are moving to the fall and will be played next as part of the 2019-20 season.
The Tour released the schedule of 46 events on Tuesday.
“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,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said in a news release.
“By concluding at the end of August, the FedExCup Playoffs no longer have the challenge of sharing the stage with college and professional football. This will enhance the visibility of the FedExCup Playoffs. We have created a schedule that will heighten interest in all tournaments while further elevating the FedExCup Playoffs.”
The Playoffs are now three events and will be played in consecutive weeks. The annual Boston stop, which played as the second postseason event the first 11 years of the Playoffs, is moving starting in 2020 into an every other year rotation with the New York area, which has annually hosted the first event.
Next season the Playoffs will start with the Northern Trust on Aug. 8-11 in New Jersey, move to Medinah Country Club in Chicago the following week and end in Atlanta at East Lake Golf Club Aug. 22-25.
Significant scheduling challenges await the game’s best players as they look to peak for the sport’s biggest events and arrange for proper rest.
With the revamped schedule, there is an eight-week stretch that includes the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship Feb. 21-24, The Players Championship March 14-17, the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play March 27-31 and the Masters April 11-14. The other four events in this stretch are important to the players, too — the Honda Classic, Arnold Palmer Invitational, Valspar Championship and Valero Texas Open.
Two of the season’s most popular events precede the eight-week stretch — the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club. And the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links once again is the week after the Masters and has annually been a big hit with players looking to decompress after the first major of the year.
There’s also a six-week stretch that begins July 18-21 with the Open Championship at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland. The following week the last WGC event of the season, which is now moving from Akron to Memphis and will be called the FedEx St. Jude Invitational, will be played. The next week is the Wyndham Championship, the last spot for players to earn a spot in the FedExCup Playoffs. And then you have the playoffs.
Exciting changes await.
Check out the changes to the revamped 2018-19 PGA TOUR season schedule. https://t.co/b0jbXcYcvm
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) July 10, 2018
Other significant changes include the addition of two new events. The Rocket Mortgage Classic will be the first PGA Tour event held in Detroit from June 27-30 and will be followed by the 3M Open at TPC Twin Cities July 4-7.
The RBC Canadian Open moves from its traditional spot in late July to June 6-9, the week ahead of the U.S. Open.
The season begins the week after the 2018 Ryder Cup in France. The Safeway Open in Napa, California, is Oct. 4-7 and kicks off a seven-week, eight-tournament fall stretch before the Tour takes a break in late November.
The schedule resumes the first week of January in Hawaii with the Aloha State two-step — the Sentry Tournament of Champions Jan. 3-6 and the Sony Open in Hawaii Jan. 10-13.
Oct. 1-7: Safeway Open, Silverado Resort and Spa (North Course), Napa, Calif.
Oct. 8-14: CIMB Classic, TPC Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Oct. 15-21: The CJ Cup at Nine Bridges, Jeju Island, South Korea
Oct. 22-28: World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions, Sheshan International Golf Club, Shanghai
Oct. 22-28: Sanderson Farms Championship, Country Club of Jackson, Jackson, Miss.
Oct. 29-Nov. 4: Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, TPC Summerlin, Las Vegas
Nov. 5-11: Mayakoba Golf Classic, El Camaleon Golf Club at the Mayakoba Resort, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Nov. 12-18: The RSM Classic, Sea Island Resort (*Seaside Course, Plantation Course), St. Simons Island, Ga.
Dec. 31-Jan. 6: Sentry Tournament of Champions, Kapalua Resort (The Plantation Course), Hawaii
Jan. 7-13: Sony Open in Hawaii, Waialae Country Club, Honolulu
Jan. 14-20: CareerBuilder Challenge, PGA WEST (*Stadium Course, Nicklaus Tournament Course); La Quinta Country Club, La Quinta, Calif.
Jan. 21-27: Farmers Insurance Open, Torrey Pines Golf Course (*South Course, North Course), San Diego
Jan. 28-Feb. 3: Waste Management Phoenix Open, TPC Scottsdale (Stadium Course), Scottsdale, Ariz.
Feb. 4-10: AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, *Pebble Beach Golf Links, Spyglass Hill Golf Course, Monterey Peninsula Country Club (Shore Course), Pebble Beach, Calif.
Feb. 11-17: Genesis Open, The Riviera Country Club, Pacific Palisades, Calif.
Feb. 18-24: World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship, Club de Golf Chapultepec, Mexico City
Feb. 18-24: Puerto Rico Open, Coco Beach Golf & Country Club
Feb. 25-March 3: The Honda Classic, PGA National Resort & Spa (The Champion Course), Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
March 4-10: Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard, Bay Hill Club and Lodge, Orlando
March 11-17: The Players Championship, TPC Sawgrass (THE PLAYERS Stadium Course), Ponte Vedra Beach, Calif.
March 18-24: Valspar Championship, Innisbrook, a Salamander Golf and Spa Resort (Copperhead Course), Palm Harbor, Fla.
March 25-31: World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play, Austin Country Club, Texas
March 25-31: Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship, Puntacana Resort & Club (Corales Golf Course), Dominican Republic
April 1-7: Valero Texas Open, TPC San Antonio (AT&T Oaks Course)
April 8-14: Masters, Augusta National Golf Club, Augusta, Ga.
April 15-21: RBC Heritage, Harbour Town Golf Links, Hilton Head, SC
April 22-28: Zurich Classic of New Orleans, TPC Louisiana
April 29-May 5: Wells Fargo Championship, Quail Hollow Club, Charlotte
May 6-12: AT&T Byron Nelson, Trinity Forest Golf Club, Dallas
May 13-19: PGA Championship, Bethpage State Park (Black Course), Bethpage, NY
May 20-26: Charles Schwab Challenge, Colonial Country Club, Fort Worth
May 27-June 2: the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide,
Muirfield Village Golf Club, Dublin, Ohio
June 3-9: RBC Canadian Open, Hamilton Golf & Country Club, Hamilton, Ontario
June 10-16: U.S. Open, Pebble Beach Golf Links, Pebble Beach, Calif.
June 17-23: Travelers Championship, TPC River Highlands, Cromwell, CT
June 24-30: Rocket Mortgage Classic, Detroit Golf Club
July 1-7: 3M Open, TPC Twin Cities, Blaine, Minn.
July 8-14: John Deere Classic, TPC Deere Run, Silvis, Ill.
July 15-21: The Open Championship, Royal Portrush Golf Club, Portrush, Northern Ireland
July 15-21: Barbasol Championship, Keene Trace Golf Club (Champions Trace), Nicholasville, Ky.
July 22-28: World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational,
TPC Southwind, Memphis
July 22-28: Reno-Tahoe Tournament, Montrêux Golf and Country Club, Reno
July 29-Aug. 4: Wyndham Championship, Sedgefield Country Club, Greensboro, NC
Aug. 5-11: The Northern Trust, Liberty National Golf Club, Jersey City, NJ
Aug. 12-18: BMW Championship, Medinah Country Club (Course No. 3), Medinah, Ill.
Aug. 19-25: Tour Championship, East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta
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