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 today.
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.
From all indications, the shifting 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 are expected to learn of their 2012 dates this week from PGA Tour officials. Those dates are expected to 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 up Colonial from direct competition with the Volvo Match Play Championship, a European Tour event that lured six of the world’s top seven golfers _ all with primary loyalties to the European Tour _ to that event last week while PGA Tour competitors played at Colonial.
Follow Jimmy Burch on Twitter @Jimmy_Burch.
_ Jimmy Burch