Champions Tour announces new playoff event in Richmond, sponsored by Dominion Resources
September 03, 2015
- PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem was on hand to announce the new Champions Tour event. (PGA TOUR)
RICHMOND, Va. – The PGA TOUR’s Champions Tour and Dominion Resources, Inc., announced today a new event to be played in Richmond, Va., from Oct. 31-Nov. 6, 2016, at the Country Club of Virginia’s James River Course in Richmond, Virginia. The announcement was made during a press conference featuring PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem, Dominion Resources Chairman, President & CEO Tom Farrell and Champions Tour stars and local favorites Curtis Strange and Bobby Wadkins.
Not only will the Dominion Charity Classic be the first Champions Tour or PGA TOUR event in the Richmond area in 25 years, but it will also have increased stature in the new Champions Tour Playoff structure. The Dominion Charity Classic will be the last Playoff event before the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship. The $2 million purse ensures the Dominion Charity Classic will draw an incredible field of 54 Champions Tour standouts. Only the top players will then advance to the season-ending event and a shot at the coveted Charles Schwab Cup title.
Full details for the Champions Tour Playoffs will be announced at the 2015 Charles Schwab Championship in November.
“Today’s announcement is such an important part of the next chapter in Champions Tour history as we look to launch the Champions Tour Playoffs in 2016,” said Finchem, who went to high school in Virginia Beach, graduated from University of Richmond in 1969 and University of Virginia School of Law in 1973. “Richmond is a special place to me, and the love of golf amongst the community here is second to none. Adding a respected corporate leader like Dominion Resources as title sponsor and the historic Country Club of Virginia as host course makes this the perfect setting to host the Champions Tour Playoffs next year. On behalf of the PGA TOUR and Champions Tour, my congratulations and appreciation to Dominion, Country Club of Virginia and the entire community that has helped make today possible. I have no doubt the Dominion Charity Classic will be one of the finest events of the Champions Tour season.”
Dominion is one of the nation’s largest producers and transporters of energy, with 3.8 million electric and natural gas utility customers in Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio and West Virginia and a gas gathering, processing, transmission and storage business serving much of the northeastern region of the U.S. It employs more than 5,000 in the Richmond, Virginia, metropolitan area.
“Dominion is pleased to sponsor this Champions Tour event, which will also benefit a charitable organization that assists military veterans transitioning to work in the private sector,” said Farrell. “The tournament will certainly serve as a boon to the economy of the Richmond area and showcase our area’s outstanding qualities – it historic significance, scenic beauty and hospitable people.”
The no-cut format features three days of competition (Friday-Sunday), with players participating in Pro-Am events on Wednesday, Nov. 2, and Thursday, Nov. 3.
The Country Club of Virginia is a private club with three 18-hole golf courses – the Westhampton Course, the James River Course and the Tuckahoe Creek Course. The James River Course was founded in 1928 and designed by William Flynn. Rees Jones completed a full renovation of the course in 1992 before Lester George worked on restorations during the first decade of this century. The James River Course hosted the Southern Amateur in 1935 and 1967, as well as the 1955 and 1975 U.S. Amateur Championship.
“The Country Club of Virginia is honored to be partnering with Dominion Resources and the PGA TOUR in welcoming the return of championship golf to the Richmond area,” said Tom Chewning, Country Club of Virginia past president. “We are confident the players and spectators will enjoy the historic James River Course and look forward to sharing our Club’s hospitality with the players, their families and fans alike.”
“This is great news for my hometown of Richmond and the surrounding region as the Dominion Charity Classic is going to benefit and enhance this community in a big way, just like all Champions Tour and PGA TOUR events do at each location on the schedule,” said four-time Champions Tour winner Wadkins, who was born in Richmond and still lives in the area. “This tournament will be instrumental in the outcome of the Charles Schwab Cup.”
Strange, a two-time U.S. Open champion and World Golf Hall of Fame member, said, “As a proud Virginian, I am thrilled that the Champions Tour is coming back to the Commonwealth. I am also excited to be playing one of our state’s best, the Country Club of Virginia in Richmond. Dominion Resources, our partner, has such a great presence in this state, and their company’s involvement as title sponsor is another way of illustrating their commitment to our community.”
The PGA TOUR’s Championship Management division will operate the tournament, and Steve Schoenfeld will serve as executive director. Schoenfeld has extensive experience running top-level golf tournaments, many on the East Coast. Most recently, he served as tournament director of the UL International Crown, a biennial team event on the LPGA schedule held in Baltimore, Md., in 2014. He was the executive director of the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship, a Champions Tour major, from 2006-2012, held in Timonium, Maryland; Potomac, Maryland; Harrison, New York; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; during his tenure. Schoenfeld was director of sales and marketing of the PGA TOUR’s Travelers Championship in Hartford, Connecticut, from 2001-05.
Net proceeds from the Dominion Charity Classic will be distributed to an organization that helps connect servicemen and -women seeking civilian employment with potential employers. More information will follow regarding this charitable contribution. The Dominion Charity Classic will be broadcast on the Golf Channel, the exclusive cable provider of the Champions Tour, reaching in excess of 205 countries and territories and more than 145 million households.
The Champions Tour, previously known as the Senior PGA Tour, played eight events in Richmond from 1983 to 1990 at Hermitage Country Club. Chi Chi Rodriguez won the tournament, known for the first four years as the United Virginia Bank Seniors and for the last four as the Crestar Classic, twice. Jim Dent captured the final event in September 1990 over Lee Trevino by one stroke, blistering the field with a 64-65 finish and completing a comeback in which he trailed by six strokes during the final round. The total purse for the 1990 Crestar Classic was $350,000.