Golf’s PGA Tour will stage its first event in the Dominican Republic next year after electing to elevate the tournament held on the developmental Web.com Tour.
The Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship will transition to the PGA Tour beginning in 2018. It will debut on March 19-25, the same week as the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play, offer 300 FedExCup points to the winner and carry a purse of at least $3m (€2.8m).
Through a new four-year agreement, real estate firm Grupo Puntacana, which owns and operates Puntacana Resort & Club, will serve as the host organisation and the Tom Fazio-designed Corales course will remain the tournament course. The Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship will be held for only the second time on the Web.com Tour on May 1-7, with Dominic Bozzelli having claimed the inaugural title last year.
“We are extremely pleased to have this unique opportunity to elevate an outstanding tournament from the Web.com Tour to the PGA Tour,” Andy Pazder, PGA Tour chief tournament and competitions officer, said. “With the tournament structure in place and a world-class golf course and resort in the Dominican Republic, the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship presents an exciting new playing alternative for our members.”
Frank Rainieri, chairman and founder of Grupo Puntacana, added: “This is an affirmation of the exceptional golf facilities we have down here, and we are thrilled to expose the international golf community to the Dominican Republic.”
News of the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship’s promotion raises question marks over the future of the Puerto Rico Open, which has been played opposite the WGC Match Play in each of the past two seasons.
A PGA Tour official told GolfChannel.com that the Tour will have “some additional information forthcoming” regarding the Puerto Rico event’s place on the calendar. The Tour is expected to announce its full schedule for the 2017-18 season later this summer.