European Tour shuffles 2018-19 schedule

The European Tour on Monday released its 2018-19 schedule, with several changes occurring, many in response to the overhaul of the PGA Tour's schedule.

The tour's flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship played at Wentworth, will move from May to September and be part of a series of events after the PGA Tour's schedule ends in August meant to attract European stars home.

The 47-tournament schedule begins next month in Hong Kong and concludes nearly a year later in Dubai with the season-ending DP World Championship. The Dubai event follows playoff tournaments in Turkey and South Africa.

The British Masters, the only regular event to be played in England and thought to be in trouble, will return with the help of Tommy Fleetwood, who will host the tournament in his hometown of Southport at Hillside Golf Club, next to Open venue Royal Birkdale.

The event is switching from October to May and will be the week prior to the PGA Championship, played at Bethpage Black next year.

The flagship BMW event at Wentworth will be played Sept. 19-22 and is part of a strong late-season slate that includes the national Opens of Spain, France and Italy.

That means the French Open -- played at Le Golf National, site of last month's Ryder Cup -- is moving from the summer to fall. It is also losing its Rolex Series designation, which means a smaller purse.

In its place, the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship gets Rolex status and a $7 million purse. That tournament kicks off the European slate in the New Year and will be followed by an annual stop in Dubai plus a new event in Saudi Arabai.

Other Rolex Series events include the Irish Open at Lahinch and the Scottish Open at Renaissance Club, both played on links courses prior to The Open at Royal Portrush.