Texas Open Lands Prized Spot Before The Masters On '13 PGA Tour Schedule
The PGA Tour Valero Texas Open “has landed the coveted April 4-7 window on the tour's calendar next year,” according to Richard Oliver of the SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS. Golf San Antonio President & CEO Tony Piazzi, whose group organizes the event, said, “I think it is [an] opportunity. I think it's one of those things where we'll know how it works for us once we go through it.” The Shell Houston Open, which “traditionally has served as the warm-up for the season's first major, will be moved to March 28-31 in 2013.” Valero Exec Dir of Corporate Communications Bill Day said that the company “believes its commitment to charitable giving -- the tournament raised $9 million a year ago -- is a catalyst for the tour's decision” (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 4/11). The AP’s Doug Ferguson noted the Houston Open “has created an identity as the last chance for a player to qualify” for The Masters, which “traditionally ends on the second Sunday of April, and the way the calendar falls in 2013, that pushes it back one week later than usual.” The PGA Tour has decided that Houston “will stay the week after Bay Hill, and the Texas Open in San Antonio will take the spot the week before the Masters.” Houston Golf Assoc. President & CEO Steve Timms said, "We're going to work with it. It's not going to change the strategy at all in terms of how we set up the golf course.” He added, “We're hopeful they'll continue to want to play in Houston to prepare for the Masters." Ferguson noted if the date move is “not enough, the PGA Tour has agreed to move the Tavistock Cup -- a Monday-Tuesday exhibition -- from the week of Bay Hill to the week of Houston.” This is the “second time in three years the Texas Open has been given a spot that belonged to another tournament.” Two officials said that the Texas Open contract “says that it cannot end on Easter Sunday, which is why it was given the week after the Masters last year.” The tournament is “one of the top contributors to charity on the PGA Tour, with much of that money coming from a golf outing it holds the day after its event.” The “fear is that ending on Easter would limit participation in the outing” (AP, 4/10). GOLFWEEK's Forecaddie writes, "Call it a 1-2-3 punch for Shell. For a sponsor that has poured $40 million into the World Golf Hall of Fame, it's nothing shy of astonishing" (GOLFWEEK, 4/13 issue).
SEE YOU ON THE COAST: In California, Jerry Stewart reported the PGA Tour “may be moving the start of the season, but the folks in scheduling will want to think twice if they ever consider moving the dates of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.” Monterey Peninsula Foundation CEO Steve John, whose group hosts the event, said, "The phones were ringing off the hook. I think that people, as a result of this year's tournament, are more interested in the coming years of the tournament and are more inclined to follow the event. But no, the dates have not changed." He added, "I actually think it's a better position for us in the PGA Tour schedule. As it stands, at the start of the season you typically get some players who simply don't start on the West Coast. Under the change, the season will already be in full bloom" (Monterey County HERALD, 4/4).