R.J. Reynolds, however, agreed to a one-year sponsorship extension, and with a new name, the event will be staged one last time.
The 15th and final RJR Championship will take place this week at Tanglewood Park in Clemmons, N.C., which has hosted the tournament since its inception in 1987.
Since there was no event a year ago, Larry Nelson is still the defending champion, having won the 2000 edition in a playoff over Jim Dent and Gil Morgan. Surprisingly, it was the first playoff in tournament history.
Past champions include the likes of Gary Player (1989), Jim Colbert (1991, 92, 96), Lee Trevino (1993) and Hale Irwin (1995, 97).
There is a player, though, who never won the event, but does live in tournament lore.
Chick Evans injured his right shoulder in the 1991 Vantage and made it around in 71 strokes. Saturday, he shot 76. The pain continued on Sunday, and Evans wasnt able to get the club past hip high. He told a tour official he was going to withdraw, but was reminded if he did so, he would forfeit any prize money.
Having earned only $27,000 for the year, Evans went out with only a 7-iron and a putter. He then proceeded to shoot 70 on the front nine and 56 on the back for a 126 total.
He collected $1,000.
A thousand dollars is a thousand dollars, he said at the time. It was worth it. Heck yeah, it was worth it.
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