THOUSAND OAKS, Calf. – The wait is over.
The PGA Tour released its 2011 schedule, a 41-event lineup that features five new title sponsors and a few tweaks but no dramatic changes.
After the traditional season-opening swing through Hawaii (Hyundai Tournament of Champions and Sony Open) the Tour moves to California for the Bob Hope Classic, one of four events without a title sponsor, and Farmers Insurance Open.
The Waste Management Open moved up three weeks to Feb. 3-6 from the last week in February this year, shifting the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship to the anchor spot on the West Coast swing.
The Byron Nelson Championship and Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial flipped weeks to round out March, while FedEx stepped in to title sponsor the Memphis stop the week before the U.S. Open
As earlier reported, the Viking Classic moved into the FedEx Cup portion of the schedule and will be played opposite the Open Championship, a spot formerly held by the Reno-Tahoe Classic which was moved opposite the WGC-Bridgestone Championship (Aug. 4-7) to replace the Turning Stone Resort stop.
The Tour also shifted the “off” week during the playoffs to after the Deutsche Bank Championship. In 2010 the bye week was after the BMW Championship in Chicago.
The entire Fall Series was condensed, down to four events from seven the first year of the playoffs in 2007, and moved ahead in the schedule. The Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital for Children Open follows the Tour Championship Sept. 29-Oct. 2 followed by the Frys.com Open (Oct. 6-9), McGladrey Classic (Oct. 13-16) and Children’s Miracle Network Classic (Oct. 20-23), which will be played three weeks earlier.
The fall was moved up to avoid a conflict with the Tour’s budding Asian swing – the Asia Pacific Classic (Oct. 27-30) and WGC-HSBC Champions (Nov. 3-6) – and gives players who may have to play Q-School sometime between the season finale and second stage.
“Those Asian events make more sense after Disney since the guys playing them aren’t in Tour school anyway,” said one member of the Tour’. Player Advisory Council.
There is also an “off” week following the HSBC event in China, giving players headed for the Presidents Cup in Australia a break.