Conventional wisdom says the United States won golf's last two big biennial team competitions because the Tour Championship was right after the 2008 Ryder Cup and two weeks before the 2009 Presidents Cup.
With top Americans like Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods still competition-sharp, the reasoning goes, they do better against the Euros and Internationals. The proof: Woods was 5-0 while Mickelson was 4-0-1 in the recent Presidents Cup in San Francisco.
The 2010 PGA Tour schedule, released Tuesday, should put that theory to the ultimate test.
Five days after the Tour Championship ends in Atlanta on Sept. 26, the Ryder Cup begins in Wales, 4,000 miles away, on Oct. 1. But while the pileup of high-profile events in the fall would seem to indicate a possible problem, at least one player isn't worried.
"It's great that most of our team will be coming off a stretch of uninterrupted play going into the Ryder Cup," said British Open champion Stewart Cink from Shanghai, China, where he is playing in the WGC-HSBC Champions. "I believe a similar scenario contributed to us winning in 2008."
That year the Ryder Cup began a week and five days after the BMW Championship — giving golfers more than enough time to travel from St. Louis, Mo., to Valhalla, Ky. — and ended five days before the start of the Tour Championship, which settles the season-long FedEx Cup points race. (Cink lives in Atlanta, meaning he'll be home during the Tour Championship before heading to Wales.)
In 2009 the Tour Championship ended two weeks before players jetted to San Francisco and Harding Park for the Presidents Cup.
There was speculation that the Tour would move the week off during the FedEx Cup playoffs, putting it between the second and third events, but that didn't happen. Players will go from a Labor Day finish at the Deutsche Bank on Sept. 6 in Norton, Mass., straight to the BMW in Chicago. Then they'll have a week off before the start of the Tour Championship in Atlanta.
For the first time ever, the Tour made no changes to the FedEx points system, either.
It remains to be seen how the 2010 FedEx schedule will affect participation among elites like Woods and Mickelson. Although they had perfect attendance this year, both players have in the past skipped playoff events.
In other schedule news:
• The Greenbrier Classic, a new event, will be played July 29-Aug. 1 at the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.
• The Turning Stone Resort Championship goes from a Fall Series tournament to a full-fledged stop in the FedEx series, Aug. 5-8.
• The Reno-Tahoe Open moves to an earlier date, July 15-18, replacing the U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee.
• Four events get new venues or return to old ones. The AT&T National moves from Congressional to Aronimink in Philladelphia. The Valero Texas Open goes from La Cantera, a polarizing course for years, to the new TPC of San Antonio, designed by Greg Norman with help from Sergio Garcia. The RBC Canadian Open returns to St. George's outside Toronto for the first time since 1968. And the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am will add Monterey Peninsula Country Club and drop Poppy Hills.
The Fall Series tournaments will be announced at a later date.