<
>

PGA Tour exploring opposite-field event in Puerto Rico

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Several players left Innisbrook knowing
they had nowhere to play on the PGA Tour for the next two weeks.
The Arnold Palmer Invitational has a limited field, and Doral is
now a World Golf Championship.
Players soon might have another option.
According to three tour officials, plans are coming together for
a tournament next year in Puerto Rico, which would be held opposite
the WGC event at Doral. They spoke on condition of anonymity
because the deal has not been completed.
The tour has been looking at Puerto Rico for the last year and
had hoped to make it part of the 2007 schedule, but it could not
make arrangements for a golf course. One official said the
tournament likely would be played at Coco Beach Golf & Country
Club, on the northeast end of the island. A security detail went to
Puerto Rico earlier this month.
The tour has provided opposite-field events ever since the WGCs
were created in 1999. This year, however, the old American Express
Championship (held alternately in the United States and Europe)
took on a new title sponsor and was folded into Doral, leaving
those outside the top 50 in the world or top 30 on the money list
with no place to play.
The timing would help the current climate on tour.
Some players are still angry over speculation that Tiger Woods'
new tournament in Washington will be considered an invitational and
have a limited field. Their argument is that opportunities are more
limited under the shorter FedExCup season, particularly with the
"playoff" events eliminating players each week.
PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem was working the range at Bay
Hill on Wednesday, presumably to take a pulse on how players feel
about new Washington event -- or perhaps sharing news that the tour
is close to creating another playing opportunity.