Nationwide Tour releases official ’10 schedule

The Nationwide Tour released its official 2010 schedule Monday. The tour will have 28 events and a total purse of $17,825,099, down one event and $675,000 from 2009.

There is still a TBA slot Aug. 19-22, the week of last year’s Christmas In October, which was played for the first time last year. The event had a $625,000 purse.

The schedule released Monday did include the Chattanooga Classic, whose status for 2010 was uncertain. Chattanooga was not included in a preliminary schedule that was sent to players and agents after Q-School. This year’s event will have a $500,000 purse, equal to 2009.

• Three events will not return from last year’s schedule – the New Zealand PGA Championship, Nationwide Tour Players Cup and Northeast Pennsylvania Classic. There are three new events – the Pacific Rubiales Bogota Open (March 1-7), the Mylan Classic (Aug. 30-Sept. 5) and the Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open (Oct. 18-24).

•  Four events have increased their purse from last year:

Moonah Classic, up $100,000 to $700,000

Rex Hospital Open, up $25,000 to $550,000

Nationwide Children’s Hospital Invitational, up $25,000 to $800,000

Preferred Health Systems Wichita Open, up $25,000 to $575,000

• Six events have decreased their purse from last year:

Panama Claro Championship, down $50,000 to $550,000

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

The changes to the Moonah and Panama purses were made after the preliminary schedule was released.

• Several notable sports figures will serve as tournament hosts in 2010. PGA Tour player Camilo Villegas and race car driver Juan Pablo Montoya (Pacific Rubiales Bogota Open), NFL Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (Stonebrae Classic), former PGA Tour player Chip Beck (Stadion Athens Classic at UGA), University of Maryland men’s basketball coach Gary Williams and former PGA Tour player Fred Funk (Melwood Prince George’s County Open), and NHL Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky (Ford Wayne Gretzky Classic) will all have prominent roles in their respective events.

• In addition to three new tournaments, there will be new venues for two events: the University of Georgia Golf Course (Stadion Athens Classic at UGA) and the University of Maryland Golf Course (Melwood Prince George’s County Open).

That means three university courses will host Nationwide events in 2010. Ohio State’s Scarlet Course is site of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Invitational.

• This is the Nationwide Insurance’s eighth year as the tour’s umbrella sponsor. The sponsorship runs through 2012.

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