|Jeff Sluman ready for this year's Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic|
SAUCIER, Miss. - Fallen Oak is ready for the Champions Tour's Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic. And Jeff Sluman is ready for Fallen Oak and the MGRC. Jeff Sluman hits a green side bunker shot onto the 18th green during the first round of the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic at Fallen Oak Friday March 23, 2012 in Saucier, Miss. Starting tee times were postponed because of the weather pushing the leaders back till after 4pm. Play will continue until darkness. (Press-Register/John David Mercer) He always seems to be. The golfer with four Champions Tour victories and six PGA Tour wins in his career has played in each of the previous three MGRC events and has fared quite well. He finished tied for third last year behind winner Fred Couples and tied for second in the 2011 tournament behind winner Tom Lehman. There's one spot left for him to accomplish in the tournament. A win. "I love the golf course and the setup and look of it,'' Sluman said of the Tom Fazio-designed Fallen Oak course, the site of this year's MGRC March 22-24. Sluman appeared at the tournament's annual media day event Thursday. "That's usually what it takes. If you like the golf course and you're comfortable, that means a lot.'' So what must Sluman do to move from almost winning to claiming the title of the MGRC? "You've just got to make a few putts on the back nine,'' he said. "It all boils down to making a few putts at the right time. Those guys (Couples, Lehman) did and I didn't.'' Sluman isn't just a fan of the tournament, he's also a fan of Fallen Oak and the charities, predominantly Habitat for Humanity for the Mississippi Gulf Coast, associated with the tournament. "It's great to see what has happened here,'' Sluman said. "You're promoting the Mississippi Gulf Coast area. I know there has been a huge impact in the area of charity too. We're glad to be a small part of it. We get the easy part; we get to come here and play golf at a great facility.'' The MGRC field is a strong one. Each of the players on the top 30 players on the Champions Tour's money list has committed to participate in this year's tournament. That list includes defending champion Couples, as well as the previous champion, Lehman. The list also includes five members of the World Golf Hall of Fame and 17 major championship winners. The list also includes six former Masters champions, of which Couples is one. The three-day, 54-hole tournament will begin on Fri., March 22 with split tee starts beginning at 10 a.m. The March 23 second round will feature split tee play as well, with action beginning at 11 a.m., with the same set up planned for the March 24 final round. The final round of play will feature Military Appreciation Day, with all active and retired military personnel and their families receiving free admission with a military I.D. The C Spire Wireless pro-am will take place on Thurs., March 21, beginning at 7:30 a.m. Play is open to the public that day as well. The MGRC features a consortium of 16 partners that serve as the primary sponsors of the tournament. The members of the consortium are Mississippi Gulf Coast Regional Tourism Partnership, BP America, Mississippi Power, Mississippi Development Authority, C Spire Wireless, Hard Rock Resort and Casino, Beau Rivage Hotel and Casino/Fallen Oak, Grand Biloxi Casino Hotel Spa, Habitat for Humanity, F.E.B. Distributing, IP Casino Resort and Spa, Hancock Bank, Yates Construction, Roy Anderson Corporation, Harrison County Tourism Commission and Coca-Cola. The tournament will benefit Habitat for Humanity of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Tickets, priced at $15 each, are on sale now and can be purchased online at www.2013MGRC.com or by phoning the tournament's ticket office at (228) 896-6365.