The Dallas-Fort Worth stops on the PGA Tour will be played in reverse order next season, with golfers heading to the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial the week before the HP Byron Nelson Championship.
Representatives from both events confirmed the switch today, with an official announcement expected later this fall when the 2011 PGA Tour calendar is released.
As of tonight, Colonial officials have posted their 2011 competition dates _ May 19-22 _ on the tournament website. Chuck Scherer, the Colonial tournament chairman, said club officials consider the dates “official” and wanted to spread the word so fans can make logistical plans to attend next year’s tour stop in Fort Worth.
Colonial is moving up one week from its traditional spot on the tour calendar, with the Nelson _ typically played the week preceding Colonial _ moving to May 26-29 at the Four Seasons Resort in Irving.
“We’re fine with it,” Scherer said of the change. “As long as we’re in May, we’ll be OK.”
A tweaking of the typical three-week Texas swing on the May calendar became necessary when tour officials moved The Players Championship to May 12-15 on next year’s schedule. That caused the Valero Texas Open to slide to April 14-17 on the 2011 calendar, with Colonial to follow The Players on the 2011 calendar.
Although some events have struggled to attract elite players when given dates the week following The Players, Colonial tournament director Peter Ripa said he remains optimistic that Fort Worth’s event _ which featured five of the world’s top eight golfers, as well as all four reigning major champions in 2010 _ would still be able to land a stellar field because of its invitational format.
“We’re still Colonial. If you’re going to play here, you’re going to play here,” Ripa said.
Nelson officials, who failed to land any of the world’s top 10 golfers at this year’s event, are optimistic the move to Memorial Day weekend could help attract more star power to Irving.
“We’re excited,” said John Beckert, the 2011 Nelson tournament chairman. “Of the dates that were available, we feel this date gives us the best chance to have the best field possible.”
_ Jimmy Burch