There are a couple of intriguing insider notes from SBJ's well-connected John Ourand related to PGA Tour business in this 2017 predictions column.
9. No new broadcast deal for PGA Tour
It’s no secret that the PGA Tour will have conversations with CBS and NBC about opening up their broadcast deals. But the tour knows that there’s no big deal to be had here. The big media money comes in 2021 when the PGA Tour’s cable rights with Golf Channel are up. Until then, look for the PGA Tour to cut interesting streaming deals with companies like Facebook and Twitter as it studies the landscape before its cable negotiations kick in.
The column also includes a note on Amazon's desire to get into sports this year, though Ourand cited the emerging streaming network as targeting other sports such as tennis.
10. FedEx Cup changes coming
There’s been a lot of talk inside the tour about shortening the FedEx Cup so that it would not run up against college and pro football games in September. The tour will decide this year that it will conclude the FedEx Cup on Labor Day weekend starting in 2019. The knock-on effect from the compressed August schedule will see the PGA Championship moved from August to May and the Players Championship moved from May to March. That will start the golf season with a lot of momentum with one big event a month (from the Players to the Masters to the PGA Championship).
I'm still struggling to see how this works for the PGA of America in two big ways: agronomically and financially. A May date all but rules out several markets they visit or want to revisit (Rochester, Minneapolis, middle-of-nowhere Wisconsin), while the August date is actually a decent one given the fairly uncrowded landscape.
From a historical perspective, giving up the August date for the low-rated, lowly-anticipated FedExCup also seems short-sighted.
On the plus side, returning The Players to March beefs up a Florida swing already feeling a little depleted by the elimination of the Doral stop, while a May PGA Championship would open up a few markets of interest.