Most PGA tournaments start on Thursday and last through Sunday. It's a tradition that golf fans have become pretty accustomed to, which is why so many were confused to discover that the 2024 Farmers Open started on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024, and will be wrapped by Saturday, Jan. 27.
Following the discovery, that the Farmers Open was pushed forward a day, many wanted to understand what the reason for the change was. Here's everything we know about why the Farmers Open starts on a Wednesday instead of a Thursday.
Why does the Farmers Open start on a Wednesday?
The Farmers Open hasn't historically started on a Wednesday, and the 2022 edition was the first to be moved forward by a day. The decision was made in 2021, and it was made for a pretty simple reason: The PGA wanted to get out of the way of the NFL playoffs. Both of this weekend's conference championship games will be held on Sunday, and much of the sports world will have their attention firmly focused on football.
Given that focus on the NFL, the PGA made the wise choice to hold the Farmers Open on days when it's reasonable that golf fans may actually pay attention to it.
According to a report from the Sports Business Journal, 96 of the top 100 sports events in terms of viewership in the U.S. were NFL games, and the Masters was the highest-rated golf event, coming in at 131st.
Before the schedule shift, the event clashed with championship weekend and drew the attention away from the golf tournament and towards football games that would ultimately decide which teams would play in this year's Super Bowl. CBS, which is broadcasting the event, is also broadcasting the AFC Championship game, so it makes sense that the events don't conflict with CBS's broadcasting schedule.
The Saudi-backed LIV Golf league has adopted a similar strategy, working hard to get out of the way of the NFL whenever possible. It may be sad for golf fans that their preferred sport has to get out of the way, but there are likely many of golf lovers who are also interested in football. Now, viewers who are interested in both sports won't be made to choose between the two.
The NFL is the sports world's juggernaut.
Although there are plenty of people in the U.S. who don't love football, the sport remains by far the most popular in the U.S., earning massive broadcast ratings in an era when TV ratings are generally falling. The golf world is far from alone in terms of having to readjust its schedule around the NFL.
Everything from the Oscars to the debuts of new TV shows are planned in large part around when football games will be airing. Networks know that they can draft off of the success of these games in order to promote their other offering. Equally important, they know when not to schedule things, because there would be no point in broadcasting other important stuff when an NFL game is on.