The Best Tournament of Every Month of the PGA Tour
As we start the 2013 PGA Tour season, we will see the best and the brightest in the world of golf play on some of the toughest and most picturesque golf courses in the world.
Because time is precious, and there is so much else to watch, watching each and every tournament is almost impossible unless you are diehard fan.
If you wanted to invest just one weekend a month, however, between now and September to watch the best pro golfers play, then here is a list of tournaments that you cannot miss.
January: Farmers Insurance Open
While the season started last week at the beautiful Kapalua Plantation in Hawaii with the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, the real start of the season happens to be the week between the NFL conference championships and the Super Bowl in San Diego.
Torrey Pines South is the home of the Farmers Insurance Open the weekend of Jan. 27.
Torrey Pines South was redone a few years ago to host the 2008 United States Open and made the course much better.
Mickelson is in the process of redesigning the North course, which should make that a much better test of golf as well.
February: Northern Trust Open
The tour starts to take center stage between the Super Bowl and the start of the Major League Baseball season as some of the better events on tour fill the void between the seasons.
If match play is your thing then the WGC–Accenture Match Play Championship near Tucson, Ariz. is the big event.
The players, however, will tell you that the Northern Trust Open at Los Angeles’ historic Riviera Country Club is the event of the month.
Another star-studded field will play on the same course that featured Ben Hogan and Sam Snead along with the rest of the greats of the game.
Make sure you do something nice for your significant other beforehand, as the tournament runs Valentine’s Day weekend.
March: Arnold Palmer Invitational
To try and keep March limited to just one event is pretty hard.
On one hand, you have another WGC event this time at Miami’s Doral Country Club.
The WGC–Cadillac Championship at the famed "Blue Monster" course always makes for good television, but if you had to watch just one, it would be further upstate.
The Arnold Palmer Invitational at Palmer’s home course of Bay Hill in Orlando, Fla. draws one of the best fields of the year not in a major or a WGC event.
Besides the very beautiful views around the course, every player wants to play his best around the King.
For the fans, it also means some of the best golf played all year.
April: The Masters
It is not spring until we see the blooming azaleas of the Augusta National Golf Club.
Played the first full weekend of April, the Masters has become truly a tradition unlike any other.
The hushed tones of the announcers and the patrons really give this place a reverence that is unique to the game.
Fans and players alike are as familiar with the back nine at Augusta as they are with any other golf course in the world outside of their own.
With its sudden-death playoff, the first major of the year ends up being the most dramatic one.
May: The PLAYERS
A few years ago, when the PGA Tour rearranged its schedule, it wanted to give each month a signature event that casual fans would pay attention to.
For May and Mother’s Day weekend, having The Players Championship fits that bill.
Pete Dye's design of TPC Sawgrass did not win him many friends on tour when it opened in 1980.
As the course has matured, and as the tournament was moved from March to May, Sawgrass stands out as one of the better venues of the game.
The closing three holes come Sunday are just as dramatic as the back nine at Augusta National.
The signature hole, of course, is the 17th.
Surrounded by water on all sides, the green on this par three is one of the most intimidating tee shots a golfer will see all year.
June: United States Open
For any American golfer, there is no greater honor than being considered the national champion.
Each year on Father’s Day weekend, we play for that national championship at the United States Open.
This year’s open will be played at the Merion Golf Club just outside of Philadelphia.
The course set up, done every year by the United States Golf Association, will be the most difficult one the players will face all year.
Between fast greens and heavy rough, par is always a great score. Most years, it is the winning score.
One does not win the United States open as much as he survives it.
July: The Open Championship
If the brutal summer heat of the United States does not grab your fancy, perhaps the cold and windswept links of Scotland are more your style.
The Open Championship this year will be played at historic Muirfield the weekend of July 21.
Links style golf presents two challenges for the players they will not see the rest of the year.
Besides the wispy rough and the deep pot bunkers that mark every hole, the unpredictable wind and cold of the summer in Scotland makes this tournament unique among all others.
August: PGA Championship
Between the Open Championship and the end of the FedEx Cup Playoffs at the end of September, the schedule of big events is very hectic.
Not only does August feature the start of those playoffs, it also features the last WGC event of the year at Akron's Firestone South—the WGC Bridgestone Invitational.
You just cannot ignore, however, glory’s last shot, the PGA Championship.
Played this year at Rochester, N.Y.'s historic Oak Hill Country Club, the PGA actually features the deepest field of all four majors and usually the best scoring of the four majors.
Often played in brutal heat, this mid-August tradition will give one player a great season to reflect on and 155 others something to work on for next winter.
September: The Tour Championship
For years considered an afterthought of the PGA Tour season after the completion of the PGA Championship, September may now be the most pressure-packed month of them all.
With a $10 million first prize on the line for winning the FedEx Cup, the Tour Championship has taken its place among the elite tournaments all season.
With just a field of 30 players, East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta has become a duel to crown the season's champion.
If a player is lucky enough to win the cup and the championship then they win a cool $11.44 million.
A redesign the middle of the last decade has given East Lake a well-deserved face lift.
The course is tougher, the greens are faster and water comes in the play more often.
After eight weeks of pressure-packed golf, fatigue starts to wear on the field and, with so much money at stake, the winner will have to fight off his own demons to take all the money.