A few notes on the schedule …
NEW COURSES: Outside of the majors, there are three course changes from the 2012 schedule. But only one involves a course hosting its first TOUR event — Conway Farms Golf Club outside of Chicago, site of the BMW Championship. The course is familiar, however, to Luke Donald, since he lives nearby and plays there often. Should Donald advance to the BMW Championship, expect him to be one of the favorites. The other two changes are at the RBC Canadian Open (Glen Abbey instead of Hamilton) and The Barclays (Liberty National instead of Bethpage State Park). Liberty National is hosting its second Barclays and will once again offer scenic shots of the nearby Statue of Liberty.
SWITCHING ORDER: The tournament held the week before the Masters will once again be played in Texas, but it won’t be the Shell Houston Open. Instead, the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio will have the spot in the week prior to Augusta. The Shell Houston Open will be played the week before the Valero Texas Open, which in 2012 was played two weeks after the Masters.
MONDAY FINISHES: Two tournaments on the schedule once again have scheduled their final rounds for a Monday. The season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions will end on Monday, Jan. 7, while the Deutsche Bank Championship will finish on Labor Day Monday on Sept. 2.
MAJOR VENUES: The three courses outside of Augusta National that will host the majors this year are Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa. (U.S. Open); Muirfield in Scotland (British Open); and Oak Hill in Rochester, N.Y. (PGA Championship).
OFF-WEEK SWITCH: Unlike in 2012, when the off-week of the FedExCup Playoffs came after the third event, this year the off-week will evenly split the four tournaments. After the Labor Day finish of the Deutsche Bank Championship, the top 70 in FedExCup points will have an extra week to prepare for the BMW Championship. The Playoff finale, the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, will take place the following week.
MORE FEDEXCUP POINTS: The winners of the three additional events scheduled opposite major championships and World Golf Championships – the Puerto Rico Open presented by seepuertorico.com, the True South Classic and the Reno-Tahoe Open – will receive 300 FedExCup points this year, an increase from the previous 250.
DOUBLE DUTY: Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio, will have a busy schedule this year. Not only is it the site of Jack Nicklaus’ annual event, the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance in late May, but it will also be the site of this year’s Presidents Cup from Sept. 30-Oct. 6.
ODDS AND ENDS: Just one tournament will get a new name this year. The former Transitions Championship is now called the Tampa Bay Championship … The Mayakoba Golf Classic moves from its February slot opposite the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship to its own Fall date as part of the beginning of the 2013-14 FedExCup season. Of course, golf fans in Mexico also have PGA TOUR Latinoamerica to follow. … The state of Florida has five TOUR events in 2013, most of any state. California and Texas have four tournaments each.