This was supposed to be Masters Week. Instead we are enjoying Masters Week of a different kind. Watching previously played Masters does help fill the gap, but it does not quite do the job. Kind of like fast food. Sorry about that reference Billy Payne.
However, what I am looking forward to is the new golf schedule if and when CV-19 leaves and becomes a history lesson for society to learn from.
The Masters is now scheduled for November 9th-15th. If all goes according to plan the players will have a busy Fall playing two majors, the Tour Championship and the Ryder Cup in an eight week span. They could have as much as seven weeks to prepare for a fall Masters depending on the player and Tour requirements.
What will be of interest to the Fall Masters will be sunshine and temperatures. Tournament organizers could be dealing with potential frost delays and limited hours of daylight. The average daytime high is 65 degrees with low in the mid 40’s in November. Sunrise is 7am and Sunset will be at 5:30pm. Frost on the greens should not be an issue because of the sub air system whereby the temperatures of the greens can be regulated, but frost on the fairways could be an issue and delay the start of play.
As for the issue of daylight and pace of play at least for rounds one and two, issues could arise. The 2020 field consists of 96 players. If paired in threesomes and spaced in 11-minute intervals that would be 352 minutes or just under six hours of tee times. Starting at 8am that would mean the last group goes just before 2pm, which means the last group would finish after sunset. Even if the first time was pushed back to 7:30am the last group would finish at 5:30pm. Sunset. So, what to do?
My guess would be the traditional threesomes in 10-minute intervals, rather than the usual 11-minute intervals. To get 96 players off would take 5:20 minutes. Based on a 7:30 start the last group would tee off at 12:50 pm and based on a four hour round finishing at 4:50 pm. Forty minutes ahead of sunset and dropping temperatures. This could prove to the PGA Tour and its members that major championship golf can be played in four hours or LESS! Imagine The Masters teaching the golf world something!
The Masters is the best organized golf tournament in the world. They would not have chosen this date if they could not make it happen. The Masters committee certainly plans for every scenario and have a plan ready to go. They will certainly make it very clear to the players that pace of play will be a priority and they in their subtle way will let the players know if they are on time or not.
Can not wait for it!
Until next time!
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