The move about 90 miles northeast from En-Joie Golf Club in Endicott, N.Y. was driven by widespread flooding last week along the Susquehanna River. The river runs alongside the public course, which had hosted the tournament since it began in 1971.
'It's kind of a bittersweet day,' Henry Hughes, chief of operations for the PGA TOUR, said at a news conference on the grass beside Atunyote's clubhouse. 'It was a hard decision, but it was easy to make because we had about 20 feet of water on the golf course (last week).'
The $3 million tournament, which will be played July 17-23, will be called the B.C. Open presented by Turning Stone Resort and will have a field of 132 players. All ticket sales to date will be honored, Hughes said.
'We were approached by PGA (TOUR) to offer our resources, facilities and assistance to continue this fine tournament,' said Ray Halbritter, the federally recognized leader of the Oneida Nation, which owns the resort. 'We're glad to assist, and it really needs the public's support.'
All proceeds generated by the tournament will be returned to Broome County Community Charities Inc., the sponsoring organization of the event since 1974. Overall, more than $8 million has been raised for charity by the B.C. Open.
Hughes said the PGA TOUR staff looked at several golf courses near En-Joie, but none were in shape to host the event.
'The entire area down there has been devastated, so we felt we had to go a little further out,' Hughes, said. 'They have welcomed us, and we are thrilled.'
Named after the cartoon strip, the B.C. Open has been a PGA TOUR stop since 1972. But it struggled financially in one of the smallest markets on tour and never had a corporate sponsor. It is being eliminated from the PGA TOUR, a victim of the major modifications to the tour schedule beginning next year.
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