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First ever 'wraparound' PGA Tour gets underway

(Reuters) - The 2013-14 PGA Tour season began in cool, calm conditions at CordeValle Golf Club in San Martin, California with Thursday's opening round of the Frys.com Open, launching a campaign that will span 12 months.

For the first time in almost a century, the U.S. circuit gets underway with a 'wraparound' season starting in October, rather than its traditional opening in January.

The 2013-14 PGA Tour will include events in Malaysia, China, Mexico, Puerto Rico, England and Canada before winding up in Atlanta with the elite season-ending Tour Championship to be played from Sep. 11-14.

Six events will be held before the end of the 2013 calendar year, with the season then breaking for approximately one-and-a-half months through December.

The schedule resumes with the January 3-6 Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Kapalua, Hawaii and will then move mainly through California, Florida and Texas toward the opening major of the year, the Apr. 10-13 Masters.

The World Golf Championship events, one rung down from the majors, will open with the Accenture Match Play Championship in Marana, Arizona in February followed by the WGC-Cadillac Championship in Miami in March.

The third stop in the high-profile series will be the Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio from July 31-August 3.

In the only major change from the 2013 season, the Sanderson Farms Championship hosted in Madison, Mississippi will not be played during July. Instead, it will shift to the front end of the 2014-2015 schedule, opposite the WGC-HSBC Champions.

Most of the big names on the PGA Tour are unlikely to play on the circuit until 2014, following a hectic finish to the 2013 season that featured two majors, a WGC, four FedExCup playoff events and the Ryder Cup-style Presidents Cup since mid-July.

World number one Tiger Woods is not expected to return to PGA Tour action until the January 23-26 Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines outside San Diego.

(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue)

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