US Tour again worth $288m in 2011

The US PGA Tour is beginning to see the light again after watching some of their oldest sponsors fall by the wayside.

The US PGA Tour is beginning to see the light again after watching some of their oldest sponsors fall by the wayside during the recent global financial crunch.

When the Tour released it’s 2011 schedule on Thursday it confirmed that it had picked up seven new title sponsors and lost only one Tournament, this being the Turning Stone Resort Championship.

The schedule released on Thursday includes 45 tournaments that count toward official prize money. That’s down one from last year, but despite the loss, the Tour’s total prize money has barely changed.

Assuming the majors keep their purses pretty much the same, the total in 2011 will be more than $288 million – an increase of $3.8 million that comes close to offsetting he $4 million Turning Stone won’t be putting up next year.

FedEx will become title sponsor for one year at the St. Jude Classic in Memphis, an event that precedes in the US Open by a week.

FedEx had been the previous title sponsor until it opted to put all of its focus into the FedEx Cup in 2007.

Long with Fed-Ex, the six other new title sponsors coming into the schedule next year are Hyundai (Hawaii), Farmers Insurance (San Diego), Wells Fargo (Charlotte, North Carolina), Cadillac (Doral, Florida), McGladrey (St. Simons Island, Georgia) and CIMB (Malaysia).

This will leaves only two tournaments on the schedule without headline sponsors – The Heritage at Hilton Head and the Bob Hope Classic. but. Tour commissioner Tim Finchem says both events could last for at least another year without headline sponsors

“The 2011 schedule reflects the overall strength and stability of the PGA Tour,” Finchem said.

He confirmed that only four tournaments remain in the Fall Series which follows the FedEx Cup final.

The Viking Classic in Mississippi is moving to the same week as the British Open.

In 2011 the Disney World tournament will be held before the tour leaves America and heads for it’s two-week swing through Asia.

This year, Disney came in the week after the HSBC Champions in Shanghai, a World Golf Championship event which counts towards World Rankings points, but does not count toward the official PGA Tour money list.

Only three players, Heath Slocum, Richard Johnson of Sweden and Rickie Fowler, flew back from China after the HSBC Champions to play in the Disney this year

The tour will have another week off in September, only this time it will be after the second FedEx Cup playoff event, the Deutsche Bank Championship outside Boston and not after the third, the BMW Championship at Cog Hill outside Chicago

The Deutsche Bank tournament traditionally ends on Labor Day Monday and players were concerned that it gave them too little time to travel and to prepare for the BMW Championship at Cog Hill.