CONOVER, N.C. – World Golf Hall of Fame member Sir Nick Faldo has joined the field for the 11th annual Greater Hickory Kia Classic at Rock Barn. The Champions Tour event is set for Oct. 14-20, 2013, at Rock Barn Golf & Spa.
Between 1987 and 1995, Faldo won six major championships including the British Open Championship three times and the Masters three times. He was the No. 1 player in the world for 97 weeks. He is the winningest player in Ryder Cup history and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1998. The Greater Hickory Kia Classic will be Faldo’s second Champions Tour start; he will make his debut one week prior at the SAS Championship in Cary, N.C.
“We are absolutely delighted that Nick has chosen to play the Greater Hickory Kia Classic,” executive tournament director Jim Correll said. “Sir Nick Faldo is one of the biggest names in golf, and he’s really a household name with the work he does for CBS Sports and the Golf Channel. I feel certain that a lot of people will want to come out to Rock Barn to see him play, and we are looking forward to having Nick in our field.”
In addition to his planned Champions Tour starts, Faldo is the lead analyst for both CBS Sports and the Golf Channel. With his Faldo Design team, he has designed some of the most memorable courses around the world. He recently launched The Greenbrier Faldo Golf Center at The Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia and hosts the Faldo Series Academy, a full-time residential academy for academic and golf development for high school students in Arizona. His Faldo Series, which provides opportunity through golf, hosts more than 7,000 young golfers through 40 tournaments in 31 countries and makes its U.S. premiere at the Greenbrier in October. Both Rory McIlroy and Yani Tseng are past Faldo Series Champions.
With five weeks remaining until the Greater Hickory Kia Classic, Faldo joins a tournament field that is taking shape quickly, and this year’s field has potential to be among the strongest in tournament history. Eleven of the top 16 players in the current Charles Schwab Cup point standings, Kenny Perry (1), David Frost (3), Michael Allen (6), Tom Pernice Jr. (7), Esteban Toledo (11) Russ Cochran (12), Fred Funk (13), Jeff Sluman (14), Kirk Triplett (15) and Jay Haas (16) are already in the field. In addition, six former Greater Hickory Kia Classic winners will play at Rock Barn: Funk, Andy Bean, Haas, Gary Hallberg, Craig Stadler and Mark Wiebe. World Golf Hall of Fame members Larry Nelson and Nick Price will also play. Additional player commitments are expected between now and the tournament.
“Our field looks fantastic, and we still have five weeks to go,” Correll said. “We are in conversations with quite a few players who may still join the field, so I am optimistic that it will be even better than it is now – it has potential to be among our strongest fields ever.”
Due to the extensive damage caused by torrential rain on Sat., July 27, the tournament also announced today that the Greater Hickory Kia Classic will use a modified golf course for the October event. The Jones Course at Rock Barn Golf & Spa is the Greater Hickory Kia Classic home course, but this year, the tournament will be contested on a combination of the Jones Course and Rock Barn’s Jackson Course with the blended course to be called the “Champions Course.”
The back nine holes of the Jackson Course will serve as the front nine of the Champions Course, and holes one through six and 16 through 18 of the Jones Course will be played as the back nine of the Champions Course. This plan allows the tournament to include its traditional finishing holes with the tournament concluding on the par-five 18th hole right behind the clubhouse.
Rock Barn Golf & Spa received some nine inches of rain in less than three hours putting multiple holes under several feet of water and requiring the third and fifth greens to be completely rebuilt. In addition, and perhaps most significant in creating the Champions Course concept, was extensive damage to a vehicle and pedestrian bridge on the Jones Course that was severely damaged by the flood water. Replacing that bridge in time for the tournament was not possible.
“While the Champions Course plan is certainly not what we had in mind for this year’s tournament, I am confident the 2013 Greater Hickory Kia Classic will be among our best ever,” Correll said. “We have worked closely with the PGA TOUR and the staff at Rock Barn Golf & Spa to make sure we are completely prepared for our Champions Tour event and that we continue to provide a world-class venue for players, fans and volunteers alike. On behalf of the Greater Hickory Kia Classic, I’d like to thank our partners at Rock Barn Golf & Spa for their help in dealing with the damage created by the natural disaster that affected Rock Barn in July.”
With the Greater Hickory Kia Classic at Rock Barn utilizing nine holes of the Jackson Course for the Champions Tour event, the tournament’s Tuesday event qualifying tournament could not be contested on the Jackson Course as usual. This year, the Tuesday event qualifier will be played at Lake Hickory Country Club on the Catawba Springs course on Tuesday, October 15 with the top-seven finishers advancing into Greater Hickory Kia Classic.
The 11th annual Greater Hickory Kia Classic at Rock Barn is set for Oct. 14-20 at Rock Barn Golf & Spa in Conover, N.C. The event features a week of special events and attractions, including exhibitions, pro-ams and three days of Champions Tour competition among some of the greatest legends in golf. Operated by the Greater Hickory Classic Foundation, a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit, the tournament donates all net proceeds to charities throughout the Greater Hickory Metro area each year. For more information, please call (828) 459-4000 or visitwww.greaterhickorykiaclassic.com.