Musical Chairs


PGA Tour (75x100)PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem held up his index finger during a visit to the press room at the 2006 Ryder Cup, which seemed a bit premature since the Americans had been getting trounced in recent matches.
Valero Texas Open ' No. 1 in charitable giving this year, Finchem said to clarify.
When someone mentioned that he had rewarded tournament officials for their charity efforts by sticking them in the fall, Finchem jokingly replied, Why ruin a good thing? before adding with a more serious tone that the event soon would move to the spring.
The Valero Texas Open starts Thursday in San Antonio, its final fall appearance before it leads off the new Texas Swing next May.
Its a just reward for a tournament that never complained about being held the same week as the Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup, or when it was relegated to the not-so-illustrious Fall Series when the FedEx Cup came along.
The move gives the tour a three-week Texas Swing after the Players Championship in May.
While the tour has not released its 2009 schedule, individual tournament Web sites indicate the Texas Open will be May 14-17, followed by the HP Byron Nelson Championship (May 21-24) and the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial (May 28-31).
The other Texas event, the Shell Houston Open, will be April 2-5, the week before the Masters.
Because of how the calendar falls, the 2009 season starts a week later, with the winners-only Mercedes-Benz Championship at Kapalua from Jan. 8-11, followed by the Sony Open.
There is a slight reconfiguration in the West Coast Swing.
The Buick Invitational, which has been held in late January in recent years, will be played Feb. 5-8. Thats the week after the Super Bowl, a spot that had belonged to the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am for much of the decade.
The Florida Swing also involved musical chairs. The Honda Classic again will go first (March 5-8), followed by the CA Championship at Doral, which had anchored the Florida rotation. The Transitions Championship in Tampa will go third, with the Arnold Palmer Invitational in the fourth spot, two weeks before the Masters.
The rest of the FedEx Cup portion of the schedule looks similar to 2008, with the Buick Open the biggest exception. Instead of being held at the end of June, it will move to the first weekend in August, two weeks before the PGA Championship.
Depending on Tiger Woods schedule when he returns next year, it will be hard to imagine him playing the Buick Open, Bridgestone Invitational and PGA Championship ' all of which he has won multiple times ' then playing all four playoff events, which again are scheduled to start two weeks after the PGA Championship.
Still to be determined is whether to build a week off into the playoff schedule. Finchem indicated that officials were contemplating both scenarios ' four consecutive playoff events or a week off during the playoffs ' before finalizing the schedule.

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