Alabama welcomes the PGA and its title sponsor for the Barbasol Championship (Source: WSFA 12 News)
Gov. Robert Bentley makes the official announcement of a PGA Tour event coming to Alabama (Source: WSFA 12 News)
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -
For the first time since 1990, the State of Alabama is preparing to host a PGA Tour event. WSFA 12 News confirmed the event through sources last Thursday, but more details are being released through a news conference held by Governor Robert Bentley and PGA officials.
The event will take place in July of 2015 at the Grand National, part of the Robert Trent Jones golf trail in Opelika and the title sponsor is secured for a 4-year contract that will take the event through 2018.
Grand National features a pair of 18-hole championship layouts, the Lakes and the Links, as well as a "Short Course." The tournament will be held on the Lakes course.
The tournament, officially named the Barbasol Championship, will be broadcast on the Golf Channel and will be available in approximately 93 million homes in the U.S., plus 110 countries around the world.
Andy Padzer, Executive Vice President and Chief of Operations for the PGA Tour, told those in attendance at the news conference that, "It's not every day we add events."
"We're very excited to bring this event to the Lakes" said Andy Padzer, Chief of Operations for the PGA TOUR. "It had everything our entire team looks for in bringing a PGA event."
The economic impact will be huge, estimated at more than $20 million per year and officials say it's possible the event could be rotated to other trail sites during the contract.
Lee County businesses, hotels especially, are excited about the news. With more than 1,000 hotel rooms available within a 7 mile radius of the golf course, hotels are gearing up for a huge boost in business.
The event is slated to happen at the same time as the British Open, but PGA TOUR officials said that golf fans in Alabama shouldn't lose sleep over not getting to see some of the big name golfers.
"It will be an opportunity for some of our young stars to showcase their talents," Padzer said. "Major champions and Ryder Cup team members will play in this event."
Gov. Robert Bentley said he is thrilled about the economic development opportunity the event provides to East Alabama.
"This event will show how great Alabama is. It's going to bring about a $25 million economic impact."
The prize purse will also be big, the largest of any tournament in Alabama state history with 100 businesses partnering to fill it.
Alabama hasn't held a PGA Tour in 24 years. The last time it occurred was in 1990 when the PGA Championship was staged at Shoal Creek in Birmingham.
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