Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Texas Open Tea Leaves

A short Associated Press item on the PGA Tour's search for companies to take over sponsorship of two tournaments caught my eye for what it says about the Texas Open's chances of moving to the Spring part of the schedule.

And what it says about those chances is this: The chances are good. As noted here several times previously (as first reported by San Antonio Express-News golf writer Richard Oliver), the Texas Open has a commitment from PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem to move to a Spring date as soon as one becomes available.

The PODS Championship, played a couple weeks ago in Tampa, Fla., is losing its sponsor. So is the AT&T Classic played in a couple weeks in Atlanta. The AP item notes:

The PGA TOUR is trying to save two tournaments that no longer have sponsors, with the priority on Tampa, Fla., because it comes first on the 2009 schedule, part of the Florida Swing in March. The other is in May outside Atlanta, where AT&T will bail out after this year.

PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem said he would know something about Tampa in the next 90 days.

"We're getting close to a point where we've got to move forward," he said. "We're still focused heavily on Tampa and Atlanta."

One prospective sponsor was at Innisbrook two weeks ago and said to be enthusiastic.

The item then mentions the Texas Open as a tournament that could move to the Pods' spot on the schedule should a new sponsor not work out.

"It would be awkward to leave Florida," Finchem said. "But I don't think it's the most important thing."

That might be the first public quote I've seen from Finchem acknowledging that another tournament might take the place of the Tampa stop on the schedule. That "other tournament" would clearly be the Texas Open, based on everything we know.

Are you ready for the Texas Open in March? It might happen as soon as next year.

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