International Dates

Anthony Cotton in the Denver Post says The International turned down a chance to be one of the final pre-Tour Championship events, talking to the tournament's director, Larry Thiel:
"It's one thing for the tour to be able to sell Federal Express and give them all of the branding and the commercial identity throughout the entire season, but it's another thing to get a sponsor in the middle of September to put up a very large purse and get little return. I think the three feeder tournaments will get lost in the shuffle to FedEx. The Tour Championship will be the beneficiary, but everything leading up to it will be all about FedEx."
Thiel did not deny that the chance of luring Tiger Woods to Denver was also on their minds. But as Bernie Lincicome writes in the Daily Camera, the chance of Tiger playing The International appear slim.
The rejuggling of the tour in 2007 to resemble NASCAR, with a big-gimmicked finish sponsored by FedEx, is supposed to make things more exciting and more structured. We shall see.

But while all of this has put The International between the U.S. and British Opens, it also moves the Buick Open right before The International.

In his career, Woods has played only one tournament, the Western, between the two majors five times; two tournaments, the Western and the Buick Classic, three times; and no tournaments once.

Obviously, Woods prefers to play only once between the majors, and since his choice is likely to be either the Buick Open (the Buick Championship in Hartford will get another sponsor) or The International, sponsor obligation is likely to win out over begging.

He also points out the irony of the tournament's name, and the likelihood that it won't look very International starting in 2007.
The other disadvantage that will come with the July 4 date, just two weeks before the British Open, is that international players will tend to stay in Europe to prepare.

So, the very thing that made The International special, its emphasis on a global field, could very well be compromised as well. The International had a foreign field of 42 of 144 golfers last year while the Western had 32 in a field of 156.

Is The International better off? Probably. As well off as it thought? Probably not.