PGA Tour rolls out 2011 schedule with new courses, surprises

There's plenty of good news to find in the 2011 PGA Tour schedule, late though it may be in coming. First off, there are 41 events, the same number as the tour has had the last three years despite that economic downturn you may have heard about.

On the good side of things, three new title sponsors are aboard: Hyndai, Nationwide and Cadillac. Only two tournaments, the Heritage in Hilton Head, S.C., and the Bob Hope Classic in La Quinta, Calif., do not yet have title sponsors.

The season begins the first week of January in Hawaii with the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, and ends with the Tour Championship on Sept. 25. The Asian Swing lasts until Nov. 27 with the OMEGA Mission Hills World Cup in China.

There are a few schedule changes, most notably the extra week between the second and third week of the FedEx Cup playoffs. In addition, the Viking Classic has been moved from the Fall Series to the summer ... where, alas, it will run against the British Open. The Reno-Tahoe Open, which had faced off against the British, now will run against the WGC-Bridgestone.

Five courses not on the 2010 schedule will be on the slate in 2011, though only one of those has never hosted a PGA Tour event. The Plainfield Country Club will welcome the Barclays, the first stop on the playoffs. The U.S. Open will be held at Congressional, the British Open will be at Royal St. George's and the PGA Championship will be at the Atlanta Athletic Club. (The Masters will still be held at Augusta National.) The fifth new venue is Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club, site of the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

The only major change aside from some schedule shuffling is the new format to the Accenture Match Play Championship. The Accenture switches to an 18-hole championship rather than a 36-hole one, moving the semifinals to Sunday morning and the championship and consolation matches to Sunday afternoon.

The complete schedule, including all international events, is right here. Book your plans now!