The PGA TOUR’s 2015–16 season schedule of 47 FedExCup tournaments will include six tournaments at Nicklaus Design golf courses. Also announced are two new title sponsors and several notable date and golf course changes.
The first Nicklaus Design layout to host a PGA TOUR event in the new season will tee off January 21 in La Quinta, Calif. at the CareerBuilder Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation. The Nicklaus Tournament Course and the TPC Stadium Course at PGA West join venerable La Quinta Country Club to host the tournament, and along with its new title sponsor (formerly the Humana Challenge), everything from gallery flow to restrooms is getting a fresh look in event planning.
In February, the TOUR kicks off its Florida swing in the Golden Bear’s backyard of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. The Honda Classic, one of the fastest-growing and most popular events on Tour, will begin play on Feb. 25 at the Champion Course at PGA National—a course Jack Nicklaus redesigned in 1990. The tournament has the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation as its primary beneficiary.
The PGA TOUR heads to Nicklaus’ first-ever design project, Harbour Town Golf Links, on April 14. The RBC Heritage has been played at the Nicklaus-Pete Dye collaboration since Thanksgiving weekend of 1969—when Nicklaus joined the field for the first-ever Heritage Classic. Since that humble beginning, the tournament has changed with the times. From those early Thanksgiving dates, it’s been moved to a more advantageous date, the week after the Masters in April.
Nicklaus’ prized Muirfield Village Golf Club is host to the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide from June 2–5. One of the PGA TOUR’s most prestigious stops highlights the globally ranked layout—also a mainstay in surveys of the best golf courses in Ohio and the USA. Muirfield Village Golf Club is also the only club to have hosted all of golf’s most important international team events—The Solheim Cup (1998), The Ryder Cup (1987), and The Presidents Cup (2013).
The Barracuda Championship—the only PGA TOUR event to use a Modified Stableford scoring system, as opposed to the typical stroke-play format—will be played on the Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course at Montreux Golf & Country Club in Reno, Nev., from June 30 to July 3. The tournament encourages aggressive play by allocating points based on the number of strokes at each hole. Instead of shooting for lower scores as is customary in golf, players will be trying to put plus-scores on the board, which are the rewards for birdies and better.
The final Tour stop to be hosted at a Nicklaus Design golf course next year is the RBC Canadian Open at Glen Abbey. Not only does Glen Abbey represent the Golden Bear’s first solo design project, but Nicklaus also finished runner-up in the Canadian Open seven times (1965, ’68, ’75, ’76, ’81, ’94, and ’85). The Golden Bear played in the event 14 times at Glen Abbey from 1977 to 1993. In his 24 Canadian Open starts, he finished 13 times in the event’s top-10. Counting the 2016 event, Glen Abbey will have hosted the Canadian Open a record 28 times.
Since Jack Nicklaus began his design career in 1969 with the introduction of Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head, S.C., no fewer than 140 Nicklaus Design courses have hosted close to 900 professional tournaments worldwide or significant national amateur championships. Over the 2014–15 season, there were 30 professional or significant amateur events being played on Nicklaus Design golf courses—more than any design firm in the world—including events on the PGA, Champions, Web.com, Asian, European, and LPGA Tours. For more information on the PGA TOUR’s 2015-2016 schedule, visit pgatour.com.