Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia and the PGA TOUR announced today that professional golf will remain in the Athens area for a fifth straight year – but with a new venue and host organization. The Nationwide Tour’s “Athens Classic at UGA” will be played at the UGA Golf Course and operated by the University’s Auxiliary Services Department. All proceeds from the event will support need-based scholarships for UGA students through the Arch Foundation.
“The University of Georgia is proud to be the host of the Athens Classic at UGA, and especially glad that the tournament will stay in the Athens area,” said UGA President Michael F. Adams. “This has been a great event for the community, and we look forward to teeing off next April and raising money for need-based scholarships.”
The tournament will build upon the success of the Athens Regional Foundation Classic, held from 2006-2009 at Jennings Mill Country Club. The event, which has boasted very strong community support and crowds, has showcased many UGA alumni over the years including Chip Beck, Matt Peterson, Brendon Todd, Justin Bolli, Ryan Hybl, Erik Compton, Bubba Watson, Chris Kirk, Franklin Langham, Tommy Tolles, Tim Simpson, David Denham, Scott Parel, Kevin Kisner and the Nationwide Tour’s first million dollar earner, Paul Claxton.
Although the 2010 Nationwide Tour schedule will not be finalized until the fall, it is expected that the Athens Classic at UGA will continue to be played some time in April.
“Athens has been very supportive of the Nationwide Tour since we first came here in 2006,” said Nationwide Tour president Bill Calfee. “We are confident the association with the University of Georgia and its wonderful UGA Golf Course will take the Classic to new levels of impact and interest among sponsors and Bulldog fans. We look forward to many great tournaments in the future and adding to the already impressive list of UGA golfers who have played their way on to the Nationwide Tour and PGA TOUR. In addition, we wish to thank the Athens Regional Foundation for bringing the Nationwide Tour to Athens and the many contributions they have made to the community through the tournament the last four years.”
As the Athens Classic at UGA will be a continuation of the Athens Regional Foundation Classic, tournament records will be maintained. Patrick Sheehan won the 2009 event in a playoff over Michael Sim after both finished regulation play at 14-under par.
UGA joins only a handful of institutions of higher education to host a Nationwide Tour event since the Tour’s inception in 1990. Events have been held at Seven Oaks GC in Hamilton, N.Y. (Colgate University), Finkbine GC in Iowa City, Iowa (University of Iowa), Yale GC in New Haven, Conn. (Yale University) and the University of New Mexico Championship Course in Albuquerque, N.M. (University of New Mexico). The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio has hosted the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Invitational at its Scarlet Course since 2007.
The UGA Golf Course opened in 1968 to fulfill the golfing needs of University students, faculty, alumni and guests. Designed by world-renowned architect Robert Trent Jones, Sr., the course underwent a major renovation in 2006 by Love Golf Design, headed by 20-time PGA TOUR winner Davis Love III. In 2009, the course was named one of the top-10 public courses in Georgia by Golfweek and one of the 25 best university courses in the nation by Links Magazine. The 7,240-yard course previously played host to a PGA TOUR Qualifying School stage, the women’s NCAA Golf Championships, the men’s Southeastern Conference Golf Championships, and annually hosts one of the longest-running competitions in women’s intercollegiate golf, the Liz Murphey Collegiate Golf Classic. For more information on the UGA Golf Course, visit http://www.golfcourse.uga.edu/.
About the University of Georgia
America’s first state-chartered institution of higher education has become one of America’s very best public research universities. UGA has been ranked in the top 20 of U.S. News & World Report’s best public universities eight out of the past 10 years. Enrollment for fall 2008 was 33,831 students and the university employs almost 10,000 people. For more information on UGA, visit http://www.uga.edu/
About the Nationwide Tour
Founded (1990), owned and operated by the PGA TOUR, the Nationwide Tour identifies those players who are ready to compete and win on golf’s biggest stage. As the “official proving ground” of the PGA TOUR, two out of three PGA TOUR members are Nationwide Tour alumni. As of May 31, 2009, Tour alumni have won 247 PGA TOUR titles, including 11 majors and three PLAYERS Championships. Twenty-five PGA TOUR cards and total prize money of nearly $19 million will be at stake over the course of 29 events in 2009. Recognizing the Tour’s growing stature, Nationwide Insurance has renewed its umbrella sponsorship of the Nationwide Tour through 2012. The PGA TOUR, through the efforts of its three tours and their tournaments, sponsors, players and volunteers, supports over 2,000 local charities and has surpassed $1.3 billion in charitable giving. To learn more about the PGA TOUR and Nationwide Tour and to follow the season-long quest for a PGA TOUR card, visit PGATOUR.COM.
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