PGA TOUR Officially Out of DC Area

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PGA Tour (75x100)WASHINGTON -- The PGA TOUR is dropping the Washington area from its schedule in 2007, leaving the nation's capital without a tournament for the first time since the 1970s.
 
The TOUR announced Thursday that it will instead begin a major renovation of the much-maligned TPC at Avenel course, with the possibility of returning in 2008 or later.
 
'The tour remains committed to the Washington, D.C., market,' commissioner Tim Finchem said. 'And we look forward to returning in the future with top-level PGA TOUR golf competition.'
 
Washington has been a fixture on the TOUR since 1980, when the Kemper Open moved from North Carolina to the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md. The Kemper was then relocated to Avenel in nearby Potomac in 1987.
 
But the Avenel course has frequently been criticized by top players, and the tournament often had trouble drawing a marquee field. Kemper Insurance eventually ended its longtime sponsorship deal, and Booz Allen Hamilton was the sponsor for the last three years -- making the event the Booz Allen Classic.
 
Booz Allen opted not to renew when the TOUR announced plans to move the tournament from its usual spot in May or June to a less prestigious place on the calendar in fall for 2007. Officials have since been unable to find a new title sponsor, leaving the tour little choice but to shut the event down and begin renovations that are expected to cost $18 million to $20 million.
 
'Our initial short-term focus has to be on getting the golf course right,' PGA TOUR spokesman Bob Combs said.
 
This year's Booz Allen was one of the most lackluster major sporting events in the nation's capital in recent memory. Playing the week after the U.S. Open, the event attracted no players in the world Top 20 rankings and few fans. It was disrupted repeatedly by rain and ended two days late, the tour's first Tuesday finish in 26
years.
 
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