GOLF: Open moving to head of PGA schedule Open 2011

The Open will return to South Valley at its usual time in October 2013, but everything else about the tournament could be about to change.
The Open took a major step toward becoming a full-fledged event Tuesday when PGA commissioner Tim Finchem announced the tour’s policy board approved two significant changes – the Nationwide Tour becoming the primary path to a PGA Tour card, and the tour season’s start moving from January to October.
That leaves the Open in line to kick off the restructured 2013 schedule.
Whether or not full FedEx Cup points will be awarded to the fall events is still to be determined, but the Open is set for a sweeping upgrade in status as a possible season opener following the Presidents Cup the week of Oct. 7-13, 2013. With that comes the potential for a large purse, a top-flight field and more money for local charities.
“The fall tournaments certainly will benefit by becoming part of the FedEx Cup season,” Finchem said in a statement. “But the benefit also extends to FedEx, our telecasts of those tournaments and the understanding among fans that there’s a true finality to the season, with the FedEx Cup and eligibility for the PGA Tour concluding at the same time.”
The Open made progress in 2011 by drawing big names such as Tiger Woods, Ernie Els, Angel Cabrera, Justin Leonard and 2010 champion Rocco Mediate. It will return to CordeValle Golf Club in San Martin starting Oct. 8 but could move to John Fry’s exclusive club in Morgan Hill, The Institute, as early as next year.
“We’re heading in the right direction, so it’s definitely exciting,” Open tournament director Jeff Sanchez said by phone Wednesday. “We consider the news progress, but there’s still some things to be released.”
The breakdown of FedEx Cup points and the 2013 tournament schedule, will be settled at the policy board’s next meeting in late June after the players advisory council weighs in on the recent changes.
“It’s tough to gauge the policy board, but we’re optimistic the policy board will make a decision that’s favorable for us and other fall tournaments,” Sanchez said. “As of now, we’re really focused on hosting a great tournament this fall.”
Other details are yet to be finalized as well, such as the competition system that will determine the 50 PGA Tour cards.
The fields for the three final Nationwide Tour events, which will be held during the FedEx Cup Playoffs, will include the top 75 players on the Nationwide Tour’s money list, the players ranked 126-200 on the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup points list and nonmembers who meet certain eligibility standards.
“We are excited to announce these significant changes, as we strongly believe that they will strengthen both tours,” Finchem said.

Leave your comments