Dates for the 2012 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial will move back by one week on the PGA Tour schedule, Colonial tournament director Peter Ripa said Monday.
Ripa said Colonial officials have been assigned the week of May 21-27, 2012 on next year’s tour calendar. The dates overlap Memorial Day weekend, a stretch that belongs this year to the HP Byron Nelson Championship, which begins Thursday in Irving.
The shift of Colonial’s dates will trigger a more traditional running order in 2012 for the tour’s two-week swing through Dallas-Fort Worth: a stop at the Nelson, followed by a stop at Colonial. Nelson officials confirmed Monday that their 2012 dates will be May 14-20, 2012.
The D-FW events were flip-flopped on the 2011 schedule, causing Colonial to be played the week immediately after The Players Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
Colonial officials landed only one of the top 10 players in the world golf rankings (Matt Kuchar) for their 2011 tournament, which concluded with Sunday’s victory by David Toms. Ripa said having the extra week of separation from The Players on the 2012 schedule _ dates for the tour’s flagship event are May 7-13, 2012 _ will be helpful in luring elite players to Fort Worth.
The last time Colonial concluded on Memorial Day weekend, in 2010, the event drew five of the top eight players in the world rankings and all four reigning major champions.
“That’s ultimately going to help us with our field,” Ripa said of the date switch for 2012. “It’s a good spot for us on the calendar.”
Ripa said he was unsure if the move to a later date would free Colonial from direct competition with the Volvo Match Play Championship, a European Tour event that lured six golfers from the Top 10 _ all with primary loyalties to the European Tour _ to that event last week while PGA Tour competitors played in Fort Worth.
Nelson tournament chairman John Beckert said officials at his event are satisfied with their 2012 dates.
“We like playing in May when course conditions with Bermuda grass are optimal,” Beckert said. “We also like being adjacent to Colonial. It’s great to be able to bring two full-filled weeks to the Metroplex.”
The return to the traditional running order of the D-FW tour stops in 2012 means Nelson officials will crown two champions _ Sunday’s winner in Irving, plus the 2012 champ _ before another golfer has a chance to supplant Toms as the Colonial champion.
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_ Jimmy Burch