LAS VEGAS – It has had ten different names. It has been played on 12 different golf courses. It took place in March, May and October. But whatever its name and wherever it was played, a stop in Las Vegas has been a staple of the PGA Tour for 39 years.
So what does the future hold for the Shriners Children’s Open?
The Tour had a tight schedule, starting in September and ending in August, for eight years.
But what’s old is new again, so from 2024 the Tour will revert to its calendar year calendar format, with the season starting in January as before.
That means 2023, which will also mark the 40th anniversary of the PGA Tour’s first regular stop in Las Vegas, could very well be the end of the Fall Series as fans know by now.
A view of the 16th green and 17th tee box at TPC Summerlin for the 2022 Shriners Children’s Open in Las Vegas. (Photo: Todd Kelly/Golfweek)
Patrick Lindsey, in his eighth year as tournament director of the Shriners Open for Kids, is optimistic about the future.
“At the end of the day, we really have two big things going on for us. The one we have, we have a great title sponsor. The charity’s mission is great,” he said. “We also live in this amazing market in this Las Vegas destination. So talking to the players, they’re like, “Look, we love Las Vegas, we love the Shriners, we just wish we were there. We’re still going to kind of plan your event and be here and be a part of it,” so that made me feel a little better about the direction.
Count Max Homa among them.
“I’m not sure the future of all of this, I don’t know what changes when we don’t have a full season,” he said. “I imagine events would still go well because, like I said, I think a decent number of us are still very excited about the events that we would play.”
A year ago, Shriners Hospitals for Children signed a five-year extension as title sponsor through 2026. As for the tournament itself, there are no plans to go anywhere. Lindsey says they love their place in the fall.
“In this climate that we’re in, it’s made to have this event in the fall, because we don’t overseed and the growth process and the winter in the spring being very light, it would be necessary, in my opinion, to change a little agronomy standards of this golf course,” Lindsey said. “So really this tournament is going very well in the fall because we have the whole summer growing season to get the course exactly the way we want it. for the PGA Tour event, the first week of October.”
Matt Wallace putts on the eighth green during the first round of the 2022 Shriners Children’s Open at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas. (Photo: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
As the LIV Golf Series plans to expand, there are threads on the internet about Greg Norman and Co. possibly trying to select one of the PGA Tour’s fall events, possibly due of the idea that a Fall Tour event might not want to risk facing diminished status. or a weaker field.
But since the Shriners are run on a TPC course, “that’s not going to happen here,” Lindsey said, adding that no one from LIV Golf has contacted him or anyone else at his tournament, and he doesn’t. wouldn’t take the call even if they did. .
Two recent former Shriners champions – Bryson DeChambeau and Kevin Na – will never return, due to their defections to LIV, and Lindsey seemed a bit bummed about that.
“I respect the guys who left, disappointed that they left,” he said. “I don’t have a problem with it. I wish they were here, you know, I wish they hadn’t moved, but you know, I still appreciate these guys and what they did for the Shriners.
The big picture of the Vegas stop is to keep the event going in a booming sports market.
“It’s a great sporting city,” Chesson Hadley said. “It’s increasingly becoming a phenomenal sports city. I mean, the next 10 years – they have hockey and football – there will be basketball and baseball here.
Jim Furyk, who won three of his 17 PGA Tour titles in Las Vegas, has fond memories.
“When I started playing, Las Vegas was one of the four biggest exchanges,” he said. “The first time I won in 1995, the scholarship was $1.5 million and a lot of scholarships back then were $1 million. It’s Las Vegas, right? There were a lot of buzz.
“I know it’s fall now. …three of my first four wins came there so I still have a soft spot for that. I hope to see it on the calendar in the future. I really do.”
Garry Smits of the Florida Times-Union contributed to this article.
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