Champions Tour moving major to Shoal Creek

By Associated PressAugust 23, 2010, 7:11 pm

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Champions Tour is moving one of its majors to Birmingham’s Shoal Creek, the club that sparked controversy at the 1990 PGA Championship for what was then an all-white membership.

The Regions Tradition will replace the Champions Tour’s Jeld-Wen Tradition and the city’s Regions Charity Classic. It will be held May 2-8 at Shoal Creek Country Club, the first of five majors.

The venue hosted the PGA Championship in 1984 and 1990, but the media spotlight on the club’s all-white membership and remarks by founder Hall Thompson that his club wouldn’t be pressured into accepting black members sparked a controversy.

That prompted major golf organizations to adopt membership policies for tournament sites. Hall Thompson, now 87, later apologized.

“It was 20 years ago,” Champions Tour president Mike Stevens said in an interview with The Associated Press on Monday. “Shoal Creek’s membership policy complies with all the applicable laws and regulations relative to the PGA Tour. So it’s not an issue. It was 20 years ago, but I’ve said repeatedly that despite the situation that happened back in 1990 – and trust me, it was not a good statement – but what it caused golf to do is kind of look inside itself.

“The positives for golf that have come out of that are tremendous for the number of private golf courses that have opened up their membership for various minorities across the country, including Shoal Creek.”

Mike Thompson, Hall’s son and the tournament’s chairman, said the club has extended membership offers to 16 blacks in the community and five have joined. He said two others have said they hoped to eventually join the Country Club, which has some 600 members.

Landing the Champions Tour event, he said, is “a big deal.”

“We have waited 20 years for professional golf,” Mike Thompson said.

Shoal Creek eased back into the national golf scene by hosting the USGA’s 2008 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship. The Southern Amateur was held on the course in July.

The USGA’s decision to hold the 2008 event “was kind of a signal to the major golf bodies that they wanted to come back,” Mike Thompson said.

Before that, Shoal Creek had “very serious” talks in the late 1990s about hosting the 2002 PGA Tour Championship, he said.

He said Stevens met with club officials in May with the offer to host the Tradition.

“He says, ‘How about you guys doing an event one year from now?’ And we just about fell out of our chair,” Thompson said.

The event was held the past four years at Sunriver Resort’s Crosswater Golf Club in central Oregon. Jeld-Wen is ending its relationship as title sponsor.

“I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am for today,” Stevens said. “This took a lot of time, a lot of work. But quite honestly this is probably one of the best things that has ever happened to the Champions Tour.

“Bringing a major championship to a major championship golf course is big for the Tour,” he added.

Lee Trevino said he “screamed” when his wife told him the Tradition was moving to Shoal Creek, where he won the 1984 PGA Championship.

“I looked at her and said, ‘We are back. We are finally on the Senior Tour, we are finally going to a golf course that is worthy of a Champions Tour event and a Champions Tour major,”’ said Trevino, who attended the announcement. “Players are so excited about being here.

“This is just going to be unbelievable.”

Stevens said he expects about half the players who won prize money at the PGA Championship in 1984 to participate, and seven who made the cut in the ’90 event have won on the Champions Tour this year.

“The idea was to create an event that would be considered the best on the Champions Tour, indicative of the Masters,” he said. “This announcement today will allow this dream to absolutely continue.”

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


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Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm