'It simply made more sense for us to follow the lead of most other tours and adopt a calendar year for the playing schedule of our tournaments' stated Canadian Tour Commissioner Jacques Burelle.
Of further importance was the announcement that the purse for the 2002 Panasonic Panama Open will rise to $225,000.00 US ' a record high both for the event and the Canadian Tour.
'We are thankful to the Panama Tourism Bureau for their additional contribution to our tournament' stated Tournament Director George Downing. 'We are looking forward to welcoming the Top 40 players from the Canadian Tour to this the seventh edition of the Panasonic Panama Open'.
The tour also confirmed Wednesday that it has teamed with Dallas-based Hambric Sports Management to stage the first two tournaments of its 2002 U.S. winter swing in Texas. The events will be held the weeks of March 4th-10th and March 11th-17th and, with several sites under consideration, a final decision on the host sites will be made by the end of October.
'It's a privilege for the Canadian Tour to be coming to the Lone Star State,' commented Canadian Tour Commissioner Jacques Burelle. 'The opportunity to partner with Hambric Sports Management for these events will truly take the Tour to the next level. We look forward to having 'the eyes of Texas upon us' as we undertake our maiden voyage to this great state.'
Speaking on behalf of Hambric Sports Management, President Roscoe O. Hambric, Jr. was equally enthusiastic with Tuesday's announcement.
'The numerous great young players who have turned professional over the last sixteen months collectively represent a pool of talent that is, in my twenty-four years in the business, unprecedented in its depth and quality,' said Hambric.
'Historically, the Canadian Tour has been the developmental Tour which has developed the most young talent for the PGA Tour, and it is the Canadian Tour that will be providing the majority of these great young players the chance to gain critical, high-level Tour experience early in their careers.'
'I am very excited about working with Jacques Burelle and his staff to expand the opportunities provided to the stars of tomorrow by the Canadian Tour. It is especially gratifying for me to promote these tournaments in my home state of Texas, which has produced so many of the game's great players.'
With the Texas dates now in place, the full winter schedule for the 2002 Canadian Tour season has been finalized. The Tour will kick off the 2002 campaign in the Republic of Panama with the Panasonic Panama Open from January 14th-20th.
A few weeks later, from February 11th through 15th, ChampionsGate in Orlando, Fla., will play host to the Winter Qualifying School before the Tour moves into Texas for the first two U.S. events of the year. Scottsdale, Ariz., will then be the site for the next two events, to be played March 25th-31st at McCormick Ranch and April 1st-7th at Eagle Mountain Golf Club.
Rounding out the Canadian Tour's second stint south of the border will be a return visit to Barefoot Resort in Myrtle Beach, SC, with events to be held at the Greg Norman course April 22nd-28th and the Pete Dye layout April 29th-May 5th.
For the stops in Texas, Arizona and South Carolina, The Golf Channel will provide four-round coverage of each event, delivering three hours of live tournament coverage each day with a two-and-a-half hour prime time or late fringe replay. Viewers will also again have the chance to catch the last three rounds of action in an encore presentation during the week following competition. The Golf Channel will also provide daily updates, to be aired during Golf Central, from both the Panasonic Panama Open and Winter Qualifying School.
The complete 2002 Canadian Tour schedule, including all dates in Canada, will be released in mid November.
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