Palmer: Charles Schwab Challenge may get its ‘best field’ in revised schedule
April 21, 2020
By Cameron Morfit, PGATOUR.COM
- Originally scheduled for May, the Charles Schwab Challenge is slated for June 11-14. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
If Ryan Palmer has a personal fifth major, it would likely be the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas. Palmer’s ties to Colonial Country Club are strong; in fact, he’s a member.
Given that the Charles Schwab Challenge currently is the first tournament back on the PGA TOUR’s reconfigured schedule unveiled last week, Palmer thinks Colonial might just have a major feel to it.
“I expect a pretty strong, if not the best, field Colonial has had,” Palmer said. “The field is only going to get better as more information comes out about the testing and everything.”
Testing, of course, will be a big part of any tournament in the near-future due to concerns stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. A safe environment is the primary concern of any event, especially the first wave of tournaments. But pent-up demands to watch golf, and players eager to get back to work should make for a memorable week at Colonial – provided the schedule holds, of course.
For now, the tournament is set for June 11-14 after being moved from its original dates of May 21-24.
A member of the TOUR’s Player Advisory Council, Palmer said he’s had conversations with PGA TOUR and Colonial officials to discuss testing. He expects guidelines to be released within the next 10 days.
“This all depends also on testing, assuming it’s available for everyone,” Palmer said Tuesday on a conference call that also included talk about this week’s canceled event, the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Palmer would’ve been defending the title with partner Jon Rahm. “I’m very positive and optimistic we will be playing in June. We’ll know more in the next few weeks as the TOUR begins their testing protocols.”
For now, the four-time PGA TOUR winner is playing two or three times a week in Fort Worth, often with his son Mason. Sometimes he’ll play Colonial. If the schedule remains intact, he plans to follow his Charles Schwab Challenge appearance by playing the RBC Heritage after that, followed by the Travelers Championship, if circumstances allow.
Those three events are among the first four in which the general public will not be allowed on the course, with only players, caddies and essential tournament personnel on-site.
“It’ll be a change this first month if we get out there,” Palmer said. “I told somebody it’ll be kind of like college golf again. I’m hoping it doesn’t change anything. I’m still out there to do my job. James [Edmondson, his caddie] and I will enjoy the walk. Hopefully you’ll see guys interacting more with no one around. You may see guys frustrated more. I don’t know.
“Just enjoying the walk; that’s how I’ll approach it.”
It’s a big IF, but Palmer is hopeful. How successfully the country and the TOUR can develop and refine testing protocols will have a lot to do with the planned restart. But Palmer does have one question related to the lack of galleries.
“The funny part is them announcing you on the first tee with no one around and the habit of raising your hand and tipping your cap,” Palmer said. “Who are you raising your hand to?”