The Valspar Championship at Innisbrook in Palm Harbor will move from early to late March next year, the tournament said on its Twitter account Wednesday, and that could mean trouble for the PGA Tour event.
Valspar was March 8-11 this year and had record crowds as Tiger Woods played it for the first time.
But in its new slot, it likely will be held a week after the Players Championship at Ponte Vedra Beach and a week before the World Golf Championships Match Play in Texas. It will be three weeks before the Masters instead of five.
The official schedule for next season has not been released
Now that the dust has settled from the 2018 #ValsparChampionship - a huge thank you to our fans, volunteers, sponsors, @Paul_Casey and all @PGATOUR pros and everyone else involved in making this our most successful tournament ever. Can't wait to see you next March 18-24! pic.twitter.com/Pqp9PkROzo— Valspar Championship (@ValsparChamp) March 21, 2018
The Players Championship attracts the top players, and the top 64 qualify for the Match Play. With Valspar between them, the top players will have to decide if they want to play at least three straight weeks.
"We're thrilled with our dates," Valspar director Tracy West said. "That's all I can say about (the dates) right now. We're happy to still be in March."
The Players Championship had been in May, but tour officials are moving it back to March next year, where it was until 2007. The PGA Championship is moving from August to May, changing it from golf's final major of the year to No. 2, in between the Masters and the U.S. Open. That allows the tour to hold its season-ending FedEx Cup playoffs earlier, likely in August and before the NFL and college football seasons begin.
That puts four events in the Florida swing: in order, the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in Orlando, the Players Championship and Valspar. The WGC event that for two years has been the week before Valspar likely will move to February.
Valspar no longer will coincide with the IndyCar series' Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, set for March 8-10 next year.