As I predicted a few weeks ago, the PGA Tour has indeed filled the July 4th week hole in the schedule left by The International with a new bigger and better tournament in Washington D.C.
Here's the lede graf of the announcement...
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- The PGA TOUR, in conjunction with the Tiger Woods Foundation, announced today that the TOUR will return to Washington, D.C. as a result of the two organizations reaching a long-term agreement to create a new PGA TOUR event in the nation's capital, beginning in July, 2007.
For the whole annoucement, click here.
I nailed this sucker a few weeks ago. Read on from Feb. 11...
Hopes for Tour stop in Philly are in vain
If you saw that item in the paper a few days ago about the PGA Tour's considering Philadelphia for a tournament, here's a piece of advice: Don't get your hopes up.
True enough, in Associated Press reports last week about the sudden demise of the International, the 21-year-old Tour stop outside Denver, Philadelphia was mentioned as a major market without a tournament that might fill the gap. Washington, Minneapolis, and Portland, Ore., were also mentioned.
The e-mails poured in, not surprisingly. Could Philadelphia really be a candidate for a tournament to fill the very attractive July Fourth week gap on the Tour's schedule?
Sorry, but don't shoot the messenger.
If I was a betting man, I'd put up a few bucks, or a dozen Pro V1s, that in a month or so commissioner Tim Finchem will announce that the week in question will be filled by a newly created tournament in Washington.
If you're saying, hey, they've already got the Booz Allen Classic, perhaps you didn't notice it's gone from the schedule this year. When the Tour inexplicably bumped the tournament from its prime June date on the calendar to the "Fall Series" - the seven tournaments after the Tour Championship that nobody cares about - the chairman of Booz Allen yanked the sponsorship and killed the tournament.
So, why do I think D.C. is a shoo-in?
When I called late last week, Bob Combs, a top Tour spokesman, told me that they're already far enough along in the process of replacing the International that they expect to announce a new tournament - city undisclosed, thank you - within 30 to 45 days. Suffice it to say I did not come away with the impression that Philadelphia would be that city.
Next, I made a few phone calls around town to people who I figured would likely have at least heard something - whispers, rumors - if the Tour was sniffing around Philadelphia, let alone being 30 days from making an announcement about a tournament here.
Zippo. Nobody's heard nuthin'.
Finally, I called one of those high-powered, behind-the-scenes guys I know in golf, who shall remain nameless so that he continues to take my calls.
From what he hears, no, Philadelphia is not in the picture.
"They're focused on Washington," he said. "And from what I hear, there will be a Tiger element to this event."
A bit of a conspiracy theorist, he made to sound like the whole changing of the tournaments could very well have been quietly orchestrated by the Tour. You know, squeeze out a couple of older, lesser tournaments to make way for a new, bigger, better one, that is owned and run by the Tour.
Philadelphia? A mere diversion, along with the other cities.
Sounds plausible to me. After all, for a former White House aide like Finchem who knows how the influence game is played, how better to win friends in high government places than by bringing a new tournament with Tiger Woods - he never played Booz Allen - to the nation's capital on that most American of holidays, Fourth of July week?