Monday, April 21, 2008

EDS Unhappy About Byron Nelson Date, FedEx Cup

EDS is currently the title sponsor for the Byron Nelson Championship. Last year was the first year that the PGA Tour made the big mistake of breaking up the Texas Two Step of the Colonial and the Nelson. They used to be in consecutive weeks and the field was pretty solid for the two because of the ease of staying in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area to compete two weeks in a row.

Bill Nichols in the Dallas Morning News spoke with EDS CEO Ron Rittenmeyer about the event, the course changes, and the like, and he sounds like he thinks the Tour gave him a raw deal.There are several reasons for the demise of the event that Nichols cites.

[T]he view is not so pretty to EDS chief executive Ron Rittenmeyer. He sees only one player in the top 10 of the World Golf Ranking in the field – No. 10 Adam Scott.

For EDS to remain title sponsor, the PGA Tour needs to help get marquee names back, Mr. Rittenmeyer said. He told Tour commissioner Tim Finchem last week that the tournament needs a date that is more popular with players.

"Our title sponsorship comes to a close in two years, and if he wants us to continue, he's going to have to come to the table and help us," Mr. Rittenmeyer said.

A couple of factors significantly have hampered the event and its ability to draw a good field.

[S]ince EDS came on board in 2003, several factors have eroded the tournament's foundation – competition for top players from the new Wachovia Championship, being replaced by the Players Championship and moving ahead three weeks on the schedule.

Even more staggering were Byron Nelson's death in September 2006 and poor course conditions last year.

The biggest point of contention is the date, though. And it was really an act of selfishness on the part of the PGA Tour to promote the PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP. LOUD NOISES!!!! (Even though I do agree that the Players' date change helps the event. Ponte Vedra is kind of cold in March. And someone had to lose.)

The second week in May was the Nelson's primary spot on the schedule for 25 years. But last year, the Tour moved the Players Championship into the Nelson's spot and moved the Nelson ahead three weeks.

The Nelson comes only two weeks after the Masters, preceding the popular Wachovia Championship and the Players Championship. Most top players want a break after the first major championship. To play the Nelson, they would have only one week off after the Masters and then play three straight weeks.

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