PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- The 2009 Nationwide Tour schedule was released today and features 29 events in 18 states and five countries outside the United States as the Tour celebrates its 20th year. The Tour will play for a record $19,000,099.
Four of the Tour's original events dating back to the 1990 season -- the Knoxville Open, Price Cutter Charity Championship, the Preferred Health Systems Wichita Open and the Albertsons Boise Open -- will join the Nationwide Tour's celebration as they host their 20th consecutive events in 2009.
"As the Nationwide Tour celebrates its 20th year, we are pleased to be able to say the 2009 Tour schedule is our strongest ever in terms of venues, purses, host organizations and charitable impact," said Nationwide Tour president Bill Calfee. "This is particularly rewarding in light of the challenging economic circumstances we are all facing. It is a testament to the value of our product and the efforts of each and every one of our tournament organizations. All of us are looking forward to a very special 20th year on the Nationwide Tour."
In 2009, Nationwide enters its seventh year as umbrella sponsor of the Nationwide Tour, with the agreement in place through 2012.
"Nationwide is looking forward to another exciting year as umbrella sponsor of the Nationwide Tour," said Jim Lyski, chief marketing officer for Nationwide. "It's an honor to be a part of the Nationwide Tour's 20th anniversary and watch another 25 world-class graduates emerge. The consistent success of Nationwide Tour graduates at the next level continues to prove to golf fans that this is the place to find tomorrow's PGA TOUR stars. We're very pleased to continue in our long-term partnership with the PGA TOUR as sponsor of the Nationwide Tour."
The season tees off for a sixth consecutive year at the Panama Championship Feb. 5-8 in Panama City, Panama. The domestic season begins in Lafayette, La., March 26-29 and will conclude two weeks earlier in 2009 on Oct. 22-25 at a new site in Charleston, S.C., with the Nationwide Tour Championship at Daniel Island where "The 25" PGA TOUR cards for 2010 will be awarded.
There are three new domestic tournaments on the schedule -- the Stonebrae Classic in the San Francisco area April 2-5, the Christmas In October Classic outside Kansas City August 20-23 and the $1 million Soboba Classic in San Jacinto, Calif., October 1-4.
The Tour has added a second March event in New Zealand, the Michael Hill New Zealand Open near Queenstown, which joins the HSBC New Zealand PGA Championship and the Moonah Classic in Australia to complete the Tour's early season visit Down Under.
There are 17 tournaments scheduled to air (with one of them yet to be identified) on GOLF CHANNEL, the exclusive television home of the Nationwide Tour.
Once again in 2009, the focus of the Nationwide Tour membership will be to secure one of the 25 PGA TOUR cards for 2010 that will be awarded at the end of the season based on the money list. As the PGA TOUR's official proving ground, Nationwide Tour alums have won 237 TOUR titles since the Tour's inception in 1990, having added 20 this year. Californian Matt Bettencourt, who now lives in Greenville, S.C., finished the 2008 season as the Tour's leading money winner.