Whether you’re headed to Norton or just sitting back and watching on TV, take a good look around TPC Boston this weekend.
Lock those in your memory because you may only get one more chance to see them.
The last Dell Technologies Championship will be held Friday through Labor Day at the PGA Tour-owned golf course off Route 140 in Norton.
Next year, the tour will shrink its FedEx Cup playoffs from four legs to three so the world’s top players will not be coming to TPC Boston in 2019.
However, the PGA Tour — led by Greater Boston native Jay Monahan, the first director of the first tournament held in Norton — worked out a deal with the sponsor of the first leg of the playoffs, The Northern Trust, to alternate sites between New York and Boston. That means New York will play host to the first leg of the playoffs in 2019 while a year later TPC Boston gets the honors of hosting The Northern Trust.
Both tournament director Rich Brady and TPC Boston general manager Dan Waslewski said at a recent media day that there are no assurances beyond that. The Northern Trust, a Chicago-based financial institution, will observe how these first two years go alternating sites before moving forward, they said.
“It’s really up to The Northern Trust,” Brady said.
Brady said there really are no certainties with any PGA Tour events, which are largely dependent on the needs of the title sponsors.
New England golf fans found that out two years ago when Deutsche Bank, which had been title sponsor of the TPC Boston event since the inaugural tournament in 2003, ran into financial issues and decided against continuing its relationship with the PGA Tour.
There were fears the tournament would disappear until EMC, the Hopkinton-based technology giant which in 2016 merged with Dell and had also been a sponsor of the Deutsche Bank Championship, took over the lead role last year.
Dell is already the title sponsor of the tour’s match play championship, so when Monahan decided the tour needed to reduce the playoffs from four events to three, the Texas-based technology company decided to pass on TPC Boston.
The Northern Trust’s contract with the PGA Tour runs only through 2022 so if the sponsor approves of the alternating site, the playoffs could return to TPC Boston four years from now.
Even the 2020 event will differ from past tournaments in Norton.
The PGA Tour has decided it is fruitless to try to compete against the popularity of football, so its season will end before Labor Day, when the college season kicks off.
In addition, 2020 is a Summer Olympics year, and golf has returned to the sporting world’s biggest single event. The dates for the Tokyo Olympics are July 24-Aug.9.
Brady said, however, the tentative plan is to hold The Northern Trust in 2020 Aug. 6-9 at TPC Boston as the men golfers are expected to compete in the first week of Olympics, allowing the playoffs to conclude by the end of August.
As a result, the next time the world’s top golfers compete at TPC Boston it will be about a month earlier than Labor Day weekend, which has been the case for 16 years.
So, mark those dates: Aug. 6-9, 2020. It may be the last time you will be able to watch top-level golf in Norton.