PGA Tour schedule points to season-ending series
HONOLULU -- The PGA Tour has eliminated the nation's capital from the heart of its new schedule starting in 2007, and Washington might not have any tournament unless it agrees to one after the Tour Championship.
|2007 PGA Tour Schedule|
|1/11-1/14||Sony Open in Hawaii|
|1/17-1/21||Bob Hope Chrysler Classic|
|2/8-2/11||AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am|
|2/21-2/25||World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship|
|2/22-2/25||Mayakoba Classic at Riviera Maya (Mexico)|
|3/1-3/4||The Honda Classic|
|3/8-3/11||Tampa Bay Championship|
|3/15-3/18||Bay Hill Invitational presented by MasterCard|
|3/22-3/25||World Golf Championships-CA Championship|
|3/29-4/1||Shell Houston Open|
|4/19-4/22||Zurich Classic of New Orleans|
|4/26-4/29||EDS Byron Nelson Championship|
|5/10-5/13||THE PLAYERS Championship|
|5/24-5/27||The Colonial Invitational|
|5/31-6/3||the Memorial Tournament Presented by Morgan Stanley|
|6/7-6/10||Stanford St. Jude Championship|
|8/21-8/24||84 Lumber Classic|
|7/12-7/15||John Deere Classic|
|7/19-7/22||U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee|
|7/26-7/29||Bell Canadian Open|
|8/2-8/5||World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational|
|8/16-8/19||Carolina Classic at Greensboro|
|8/30-9/3||Deutsche Bank Championship|
|9/6-9/9||Championship Series (Chicago)|
|9/13-9/16||The Tour Championship presented by Coca-Cola|
The absence of the Booz Allen Classic was among the biggest changes in the 2007 schedule released Friday, which comes two days after the tour announced a six-year TV deal with only two networks.
Washington has been a fixture on the PGA Tour since 1968, when Arnold Palmer won the Kemper Open.
PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem sounded optimistic that the tournament would agree to a fall date, and that there were other title sponsors in mind if Booz Allen did not renew.
"With the lack of consistent dates, it's been difficult to grow the tournament," Finchem said. "We believe with consistent dates in the fall, we have the best opportunity."
Another PGA Tour event that has been demoted include Hartford, Conn., which has been around since 1952 and traditionally was played before the football season began.
"There's only so many dates," Finchem said. "Our objective for the Fall Series is for every week to have the strongest possible tournament."
The new schedule was the final piece of a major shake-up in the PGA Tour structure.
Starting next year, players will compete in a season-long points race called the FedEx Cup. They will earn points from the season-opening event at Kapalua to qualify for four tournaments in the Championship Series, concluding with the Tour Championship in September.
Still be decided are which tournaments make up the "Quest for the Card," a series of about seven tournaments on The Golf Channel that will give players a chance to finish in the top 125 on the money list and keep their cards.
PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said he was discussing with six tournaments -- the Booz Allen, Disney, Texas Open, Southern Farm Bureau Classic and Hartford -- about becoming part of the post-Tour Championship schedule.
Several players at the Sony Open sat at their lockers reading the schedule.
"It has a lot to do with the survival of the fittest," said Brad Faxon, who won last year in Hartford. "Money is an important part. There's a litte consolidation, and when you've got consolidation, somebody is going to get left out."
The FedEx Cup portion of the schedule has only a few changes that help some events, and hurt others.
The Tampa Bay Championship, played the last two years in late October a week before the Tour Championship, will move to the second week in March and follow the Honda Classic in the Florida swing. Bay Hill will keep its traditional spot, while Doral moves to the final week of March as a World Golf Championship event.
The Carolina Classic at Greensboro had trouble getting a good field in October and feared it might be eliminated or left to the Fall Series. Instead, it will be a week after the PGA Championship, the final qualifying event before the Championship Series.
Greensboro is not likely to get Tiger Woods, Ernie Els or other top players who probably will take that week off before the Championship Series. However, tournament director Mark Brazil said Greensboro might not have accepted a date after the Tour Championship.
"It's about as good as we could have done," Brazil said.
The Houston Open, played two weeks after the Masters, will be played a week before the Masters in 2007. This could provide extra drama because Augusta National is talking about restoring automatic invitations to the Masters for those winning PGA Tour events.
The Canadian Open finally got a summer date, although it will be played a week after the British Open.
The 84 Lumber Classic, which took over only two years ago in Pennsylvania, got a prime date in the FedEx Cup season by moving to June, one week after the U.S. Open. Also, the International at Castle Pines, Colo., moves from early August to the first week in July.
The PGA Tour will continue to have opposite-field events, putting a new tournament in Mexico the same week as the Accenture Match Championship. The U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee will be the same week as the British Open, and Finchem said another opposite-field event could be the Reno-Tahoe Open or a new event in Puerto Rico.
Otherwise, there was minor shifting.
The Byron Nelson Championship goes from May to the last week in April for the start of three strong events: Nelson, the Wachovia Championship and The Players Championship.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
MORE GOLF HEADLINES
- Colonial play suspended with Kuchar in lead
- Donald, Poulter miss BMW cut; Sergio 5 back
- Cochran, Perry open 2-shot lead at Senior PGA
- 39 after 12 holes good for lead on LPGA Tour