Friday, January 13, 2006

PGA Tour Announces Rejiggerd 2007 Schedule

The much ballyhooed new schedule from the PGA Tour for 2007 - the one many thought would result in a reduction in number of events and possibly the moving of established tournaments around the calendar - is finally out. Well, part of it is out.

The PGA Tour announced on Friday its 2007 FedEx Cup schedule. The FedEx Cup is what the tour is calling its new NASCAR-like points choice. There are 37 tournaments in the FedEx Cup chase, starting with the Mercedes Championships in January and ending with the Tour Championship in mid-September.

The only big change for Texas tournaments is that the Shell Houston Open moves up earlier in the schedule, from late April to the last week in March, culminating on April 1. The Houston Open occupies the spot in the schedule one week prior to The Masters.

There has been speculation that the Tour might move all the Texas tournaments into the same time frame, including the Texas Open. Surprisingly, the Houston Open, Byron Nelson and Colonial are now farther apart, not closer together: The Houston Open in March, the Nelson in April and the Colonial in May.

And the Texas Open? It's not on the FedEx Cup schedule. But fear not. The tournament will be part of the Fall Series, the events that follow the Tour Championship. These tournaments will be rebranded as "chase for the card" events, where young players and veterans who are in danger of losing their cards will be scrambling like mad to try to earn those last few dollars they need.

In other words, these Falls Series events will essentially be what they are now - weak fields of players fighting for position on the money list. So really, no change.

The actual schedule for the Fall Series - the exact events and dates - will be released later.

As for the Texas Open possibly moving up to a prime date in the spring or early summer, that obviously didn't happen on the 2007 schedule. But don't be surprised if it happens in 2008, or 2009 at the latest, when San Antonio's TPC golf course will be ready for play.

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