ON TV THIS WEEK: BMW Charity Pro-Am on Golf Channel
Among the 168 pros in this week's field are Jay Haas, Sr. and Jay Haas, Jr. The Haas family has called the Thornblade Club community home for many years. Jay Sr. received a sponsor exemption to play during this off week for the Champions Tour, while Jay Jr. played his way in via a recent tournament qualifying event.
20 YEARS IN GREENVILLE -- This year marks the 20th consecutive year the Nationwide Tour will play an event in the Greenville, S.C. area. Only Boise, Idaho, Knoxville, Tenn., Springfield, Mo. and Wichita, Kan. (22 years) and Lafayette, La. and Midland, Texas (20 years) exceed or match Greenville's longevity.
BIG FIELD, CELEBRITY FILLED -- With 168 professionals and its unique pro-am/celebrity format, the BMW Charity Pro-Am boasts the largest field of pros on Tour. Play is spread over three courses. Twenty-three celebrities are entered -- Lucas Black, Brad Brownell, Mark Bryan, Andy Buckley, Javier Colon, Jeffrey Donovan, Don Felder, Colt Ford, Bruce Greenwood, Wayne Gretzky, Oliver Hudson, Janet Jones-Gretzky, Josh Kelley, Greg Kinnear, Cheech Marin, Rob Morrow, Terry O'Quinn, Michael Pena, Joe Don Rooney, Kevin Sorbo, Danny Sullivan, Gary Valentine and Patrick Warburton.
GOLF CHANNEL'S STEVE SANDS MAKES DEBUT-- Golf Channel's Steve Sands will host his first Nationwide Tour event this week at the BMW Charity Pro-Am. Sands and Jerry Foltz will share play-by-play duties on the Nationwide Tour in 2011. The Nationwide Tour welcomes Steve.
PILOT BECOMES PRESENTING SPONSOR IN KNOXVILLE / DALY TO RETURN -- The Knoxville News Sentinel has entered into a partnership whereby Knoxville-based convenience store operator Pilot becomes the presenting sponsor of the Nationwide Tour's long-running Knoxville tournament. The "News Sentinel Open presented by Pilot" will be played at Fox Den Country Club Aug. 25-28. Knoxville is one of four original events that has been on the Nationwide Tour schedule every year since its inception in 1990 (see first note above). In addition, it was announced that John Daly will return again in August to compete in the event.
THE PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP -- 1995 Nationwide Tour graduate David Toms came ever so close to becoming the fifth Tour alumnus to win THE PLAYERS Championship last week. He was joined in the top 25 by 14 fellow alumni. A record 91 (of the 145 players in the field) once played the Nationwide Tour.
CLEMSON CONNECTIONS -- Seven players who played college golf at Clemson University are entered in the BMW Charity Pro-Am -- Tommy Biershenk, Brent Delahoussaye, Brian Duncan, Elliot Gealy, Matt Hendrix, Kevin Johnson and Charles Warren. In addition Tigers' head basketball coach Brad Brownell is a participant in the pro-am portion of the event. The Clemson campus is located 35 miles from Greenville, S.C.
CBS SPECIAL / SUNDAY, MAY 22 -- One of the rewards of winning the recent Junior Invitational at Sage Valley Golf Club presented by Electrolux was a sponsor's exemption into the Nationwide Tour's upcoming (June 2-5) Melwood Prince George's County (Md.) Open presented by Under Armour. Nicholas Reach of Scranton, Pa., who shot a course record-tying 62, won the event played just outside Augusta, Ga. in South Carolina.
This Sunday (May 22) at 2 p.m., Reach and other young golfers from 19 states and 19 countries will be featured in a 60-minute special produced by PGA TOUR Entertainment. The special will bring this unique junior tournament event to life, capturing the intense competition and sharing personal stories of some of the players.
NEXT ON TOUR -- The Melwood Prince George's County (Md.) Open at the University of Maryland Golf Course in College Park, Md. June 2-5.