Thursday, August 24, 2006

Texas Open Moving to October

The PGA Tour on Wednesday announced the makeup of its "Fall Series," the end-of-the-year tournaments that will follow the points-race-based FedEx Cup on the new PGA Tour schedule for 2007.

One of the seven tournaments in the Fall Series will be the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio, which moves from its usual September date to Oct. 4-7 in 2007.

This is good for the Texas Open for several reasons. First, its September date always coincided with the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup, so the attention of fans was never on the tournament. Plus, the 24 golfers playing in the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup were guaranteed not to play in the Texas Open. Granted, most of them wouldn't play anyway, but in some years, for example, the conflicting dates kept multiple Texas Open winner Justin Leonard from attending.

Second, being pushed back a couple weeks into October should produce a better climate - as in, weather - for the Texas Open. The heat in September was often still in the upper 90s for the tournament. And climbing your way around The Resort Course at La Cantera is tough enough without upper-90 temperatures (a few caddies have been known to collapse on the course due to heat exhaustion).

Most important, however, for Texas Open tournament organizers is that they know this new October date and spot in the Fall Series - which is really just PGA Tour-speak for "series of tournaments nobody will care about" - is that the date is not permanent. Texas Open officials know they will move to a much better date in the future.

How? They have a signed agreement with the PGA Tour commissioner that the Texas Open will get the first spring date that opens up on the tour calendar. My bet is the move to a coveted spring date will coincide with the move to the PGA Tour-owned Tournament Players Course being designed in San Antonio by Pete Dye. That course should be ready for play around 2010.

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