Nov 03, 2009 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Ever since the Turning Stone Resort Championship started three years ago, officials and golfers alike have clamored for a more attractive date.
Now, they have one.
The PGA Tour announced on Tuesday that the 2010 edition of the championship will be held Aug. 2-8, two months earlier than was the case in 2008 and 2009. It will also be part of the FedEx Cup series for the first time, increasing the tournament’s prestige.
“We are excited about the opportunity to host a summer event, ensuring a bright future for the Turning Stone Resort Championship in 2010 and beyond,” Ray Halbritter, Oneida Nation Representative and CEO of Nation Enterprises, said in a release.
“This is a shining example of how parties can work together to make great things happen. The Oneida Nation and Turning Stone Resort look forward to continuing our partnership with the PGA Tour, which benefits the entire Central New York region.”
In both of the last two editions of this tournament, bad weather – in the form of rain, wind and cold temperatures – kept attendance figures down, marring otherwise exciting events.
In 2008, Dustin Johnson prevailed by a shot over Robert Allenby for his first PGA Tour title, and last month Matt Kuchar survived a two-day, six-hole playoff to beat Vaughn Taylor.
Without question, the rave reviews of the Atunyote course had an effect on PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, who said in a statement that this might not be a one-year deal.
“It has earned the respect and appreciation of the players for being a terrific tournament venue,” Finchem said.
“This transitional move to the first week of August within the FedEx Cup schedule will help with the tournament’s continued growth and provide more desirable weather conditions.
“Moving forward, our goal is to secure an unencumbered date within the FedEx Cup schedule for Turning Stone.”
While the crowds may prove larger with warmer summer conditions, a field of elite players might prove more difficult to attain.
The tournament will be held opposite the Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio, one of the World Golf Championships events. The top 80 golfers in the world rankings, including Tiger Woods, annually play in Akron.
Still, the Turning Stone evnet will count toward the FedEx Cup, a season-long points race that leads to playoffs in August and September and a $10 million top prize at the Tour Championship in Atlanta.
Also, the tournament winner, if not otherwise exempt, will gain an automatic berth in the 2010 PGA Championship, to be held the following week (Aug. 12-15, 2010) at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisc.
Whether the tournament will stay in August, or move again, remains an open question. Contracts for several PGA Tour events are up for renewal after 2010, and the turbulent economy has already caused some sponsors to pull out.
In fact, the reason the August date opened up for Turning Stone was because the Reno-Tahoe Open, which held the slot before, moved to July (opposite the British Open) to replace a tournament in Milwaukee, which might dissolve in the absence of its former sponsor, U.S. Bank.
The contract between Turning Stone and the PGA Tour allows for a two-year option that could extend the event’s life to 2012, at least.
As of now, there is no word as to whether the prize money, which was $6 million this year, will change, though opposite-field events in 2009 typically had a $4 million purse.
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