Nationwide Tour looking strong for 2010

The Nationwide Tour announced Thursday the creation of a new event in the Pittsburgh area. The Mylan Classic will be played Sept. 2-5 at Southpointe Golf Club in Canonsburg, Pa.

While the tour has announced the creation of three new events for 2010 – along with tournaments in Colombia and at TPC Sawgrass – it has yet to announce next year’s schedule, though only two weeks remain in 2009.

The lack of a 2010 schedule may seem like a bad sign, but the Nationwide Tour’s prospects for next year are strong, based on a tentative schedule Golfweek obtained Thursday from a player manager. The schedule has been sent to the tour’s players as they prepare for next season.

The tour could conduct the same amount of events as last season, while purses will remain relatively stable.

The schedule hasn’t been announced officially because of three ‘TBA’ slots in the schedule (one of which was filled by the Mylan Classic). The two events that have yet to be announced are for the weeks of Aug. 16-22 and Oct. 4-10.

The Mylan Classic event will have a $600,000 purse.

The PGA TOUR and a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization formed by the Washington County Chamber of Commerce have entered into a three-year agreement to conduct the Mylan Classic. Mylan Inc. is a generic and specialty pharmaceutical company, providing products to customers in more than 140 countries and territories.

Here is how next year’s schedule compares to last season’s:

• Next year’s schedule has 27 events (plus two TBAs). The Nationwide Tour had 29 events in ’09, one fewer than the previous year.

• Three events increased their purses, all by $25,000:

  • The Rex Hospital Open (to $550,000)
  • The Nationwide Children’s Hospital Invitational (to $800,000)
  • The Wichita Open (to $575,000)

• Five events will have reduced purses in 2010:

  • BMW Charity Pro-Am (down $100,000 to $600,000)
  • Melwood Prince George’s County Open (down $75,000 to $600,000)
  • Knoxville Open (down $25,000 to $500,000)
  • Fort Smith Classic (down $25,000 to $525,000)
  • Miccosukee Championship (down $25,000 to $600,000)

• Like 2009, the tour will have two $1 million events – the Soboba Classic and Nationwide Tour Championship.

• Two events will not return from the 2009 schedule – the New Zealand PGA Championship and Nationwide Tour Players Cup. The 2008 Players Cup was the tour’s first $1 million event; in 2009, its purse was reduced to $600,000 just weeks before the event.

While West Virginia lost the Nationwide Tour stop, it gained the PGA Tour’s Greenbrier Classic, which will be played for the first time on July 29-Aug. 1.

Three other events are not on the tentative schedule – the Christmas In October, Northeast Pennsylvania Classic and Chattanooga Classic. The two TBA slots on the ’10 schedule fall on the slots held by Christmas In October (Aug. 19-22), which was held for the first time in 2009, and Chattanooga (Oct. 7-10).

The Northeast Pennsylvania Classic’s slot (Aug. 26-29) is scheduled as an off week next year.

If the two TBAs are filled, the tour will conclude with 14 events in a 15-week span, starting with the tour’s flagship event, the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Invitational.

• This year’s schedule will start Down Under, with the Michael Hill New Zealand Open Jan. 28-31 and the Moonah Classic Feb. 4-7. Those two events will be followed three weeks later by the Latin America swing, which will feature the Panama Championship Feb. 25-28 and Pacific Rubiales Bogota Open March 4-7.

Last year, the tour started in Panama, then headed to Australia and New Zealand.

The 2010 Nationwide Tour schedule:

Jan. 28-31, Michael Hill New Zealand Open, The Hills GC, Queenstown, N.Z.

Feb. 4-7, Moonah Classic, Moonah Links, Fingal, Australia

Feb. 25-28, Panama Championship, Club de Golf de Panama, Panama City, Panama

March 4-7, Pacific Rubiales Bogota Open, Bogota (Colombia) CC

March 25-28, Chitimacha Louisiana Open, Le Triomphe CC, Broussard, La.

April 15-18, Stonebrae Classic, TPC San Francisco Bay, Hayward, Calif.

April 22-25, South Georgia Classic, Kinderlou Forest GC, Valdosta, Ga.

April 29-May 2, Stadion Athens Classic, University of Georgia GC, Athens, Ga.

May 13-16, BMW Charity Pro-Am, Thornblade Club (host), Greer, S.C.

May 20-23, The Rex Hospital Open, TPC Wakefield Plantation, Raleigh, N.C.

June 3-6, Melwood Prince George’s County Open, University of Maryland GC, College Park, Md.

June 10-13, Knoxville Open, Fox Den CC, Knoxville, Tenn.

June 17-20, Fort Smith Classic, Hardscrabble CC, Fort Smith, Ark.

June 24-27, Mexico Open, El Bosque CC, Leon, Mexico

July 8-11, Ford Wayne Gretzky Classic, The Georgian Bay Club (host), Clarksburg, Canada

July 22-25, Nationwide Children’s Hospital Invitational, Ohio State GC (Scarlet), Columbus, Ohio

July 29-Aug. 1, Cox Classic, Champions Run, Omaha, Neb.

Aug. 5-8, Preferred Health Systems Wichita Open, Crestview CC, Wichita, Kan.

Aug. 12-15, Price Cutter Charity Championship, Highland Springs CC, Springfield, Mo.

Aug. 19-22, TBA

Sept. 2-5, Mylan Classic, Southpointe GC, Canonsburg, Pa.

Sept. 9-12, Utah Championship, Willow Creek CC, Sandy, Utah

Sept. 16-19, Albertsons Boise Open, Hillcrest CC, Boise, Idaho

Sept. 23-26, WNB Golf Classic, Midland (Texas) CC

Sept. 30-Oct. 3, Soboba Classic, The CC at Soboba Springs, San Jacinto, Calif.

Oct. 7-10, TBA

Oct. 14-17, Miccosukee Championship, Miccosukee G&CC, Miami

Oct. 21-24, Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open, TPC Sawgrass (Dye’s Valley), Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

Oct. 28-31, Nationwide Tour Championship, Daniel Island Club (Ralston Creek), Charleston, S.C.

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