Five things to know about 2015 schedule
January 13, 2015
By Kevin Prise, PGATOUR.COM
- The Web.com Tour 2015 schedule will have 25 events in six different countries. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)
The 2015 Web.com Tour schedule has been finalized. The lineup for the Tour's 26th season is very similar to that of 2014, but a few adjustments have been made to best fit the needs of players and sponsors.
The Tour's 21-event Regular Season gets underway Jan. 29 at the Panama Claro Championship in Panama City, Panama; the slate includes seven international events and 14 domestic events.
The season's first five events will all take place internationally -- spanning Panama, Colombia, Brazil and Chile. The Chitimacha Louisiana Open presented by NACHER, March 26-29, will mark the first domestic event of 2015.
The four-event Web.com Tour Finals series begins Sept. 10-13 at the Hotel Fitness Championship in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and it will conclude as usual with the Web.com Tour Championship at TPC Sawgrass (Dye's Valley Course) in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
With the Tour calendar getting underway in two weeks at Club de Golf de Panama, here are five things to know for the 2015 Web.com Tour season:
1. New event in Colombia
Slated for March 5-8 at TPC Cartagena at Karibana, the Karibana Championship becomes the second Colombia-based event on the Web.com Tour calendar -- joining the Pacific Rubiales Colombia Championship, which has been held since 2010.
The Karibana Championship will offer a $700,000 purse (falling in the top half of Web.com Tour prize funds). Its host course TPC Cartagena, a Nicklaus Design layout, opened in October 2014 to become the first Tournament Players Club property in South America.
Cartagena is a tourist city offering beaches, festivals, shopping, luxury hotels -- even historic ruins. Players, families and fans alike will be sure to enjoy their time at the Karibana Championship.
This addition to the schedule keeps the Web.com Tour Regular Season lineup at 21 events, same as 2014, offsetting the loss of the South Georgia Classic presented by First State Bank and Trust Company.
2. New venue in Utah
After 16 seasons at Willow Creek Golf Club in Sandy, Utah, the Utah Championship presented by Zions Bank has found a new home: the Golf Course at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, near Salt Lake City. This year's event is slated for July 30-August 2, more toward the end of the Regular Season (last year's was held July 10-13).
The GC at Thanksgiving Point has hosted many of Utah's largest golf events, including the men's and women's Utah State Amateur Championship and Johnny Miller's Champions Challenge. Measuring 7,714 yards from the back tees, the layout is sure to test this year's Web.com Tour field.
2014 Web.com Tour graduate Tony Finau, a Salt Lake City native, grew up playing and practicing at Thanksgiving Point -- which was recently named the No. 1 public golf club in Utah by Golf Digest.
3. Break before Finals
Last year, the Web.com Tour played 10 consecutive weeks to close the Regular Season, without a break before the four-event Web.com Tour Finals. With the last Regular Season event taking place in Portland, Oregon, and the Finals being held throughout the eastern United States, a handful of players opted to skip the WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft, to avoid burnout before the Finals.
The 2015 Web.com Tour schedule has accommodated these concerns. The WinCo Foods Portland Open will be held August 27-30, and there will be an off week before the Finals begin on September 10. The break will allow players to gear up for the always-demanding Finals grind, where PGA TOUR cards are at stake.
July 23-26 is also slated as an off-week, giving players an additional opportunity for rest before the Regular Season concludes with events in five consecutive weeks -- the longest stretch of the season.
4. Finals remain intact
For the third consecutive year, the four-event Web.com Tour Finals will be held at the same four courses: Sycamore Hills GC in Fort Wayne, Indiana; River Run Country Club in Davidson, North Carolina; the Ohio State University Golf Club (Scarlet Course) in Columbus, Ohio; and TPC Sawgrass (Dye's Valley Course) in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. As has been the case, each Finals event will offer a million-dollar purse.
Continuity breeds familiarity, although the makeup of the Finals player field (Nos. 26-75 on Web.com Tour Regular Season money list; Nos. 126-200 in TOUR FedExCup Standings) differs greatly each season, as some players move up to the TOUR while others fall back.
The Finals courses have developed a reputation for being among the most demanding on the Web.com Tour, and the challenge is magnified by the inherent Finals pressure. With all four Finals venues on board for 2015, expect this dynamic to continue.
5. Nova Scotia diversion
Last year, the inaugural Nova Scotia Open at Ashburn Golf Club (New Course) in Halifax drew rave reviews from players who enjoyed the course and unique Fourth of July-weekend setting in eastern Canada. The event wasn't the most conveniently placed on the calendar, however -- it came a week after the United Leasing Championship Presented by PTI in Newburgh, Indiana, and a week before the Utah Championship presented by Zions Bank. Many players opted to take the week off, which opened the door for conditional Web.com Tour members to earn spots in the field (notably Zac Blair, who finished T7 in his first start of 2014, ultimately qualifying for the Finals and earning a 2014-15 TOUR card).
This year will present a similar travel challenge: the Nova Scotia Open will be held July 2-5, a week after the Air Capital Classic presented by Aetna in Wichita, Kansas, and a week before the Albertsons Boise (Idaho) Open presented by Kraft Nabisco.
If last year's trend holds true, some players secure in their money-list standing may opt to skip the Nova Scotia Open, which would open the door for conditional members to play -- and the chance for more stories like Blair's.