WEB.COM TOUR MAKES FIRST VISIT TO BRAZIL - The Web.com Tour returns to South America this week to conduct its first event in Brazil, the Brasil Classic presented by HSBC. It will be the Tour's fourth of five Latin American stops in 2013 (Panama, Colombia, Chile, and Mexico to come in May). The PGA TOUR and Web.com Tour continue to support the growth of the game in Brazil and on the continent and to develop and transition players who aspire to follow in the footsteps of PGA TOUR winners such as Camilo Villegas of Colombia and Jhonattan Vegas of Venezuela. Coupled with the addition of golf to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, the world's focus on golf in the region is clearly rising.
NO. 352 – Four-time Web.com Tour winner D.A. Points picked up his second PGA TOUR win at Sunday’s rain-delayed Shell Houston Open. The 2004 and 2008 Web.com Tour graduate won the 352nd TOUR title by an alumnus and seventh of the year.
A RICH HISTORY AT SÃO PAULO GOLF CLUB – The history of host São Paulo Golf Club is intrinsically linked to the history of golf in Brazil, according to website 1golf.eu. Construction began at the end of the 19th century by Scottish and English engineers who worked at São Paulo Railway. It was moved to Santo Amaro in 1915 and rebuilt in 1935 by designer Stanley Thompson. It is now the most centrally-located golf course in São Paulo. Prominent golfers such as Arnold Palmer, Sam Snead, Roberto De Vicenzo, Padraig Harrington and Mario Gonzalez have visted the club, not to mention former U.S. President George H.W. Bush, Formula 1 drivers Nigel Mansel and Rubens Barrichello, and rock star Alice Cooper. The oldest of Brazil’s 115 golf courses, SPGC has hosted the European Tour, Brazilian Amateur Championship and Brazil Open. Robert Trent Jones, Jr. recently redesigned the greens.
APRIL IS AUTISM MONTH – Autism awareness will be a focus of attention on the Web.com Tour in April in Midland and Valdosta, as it will be at all PGA TOUR events during the month. Cliff Kresge and Ernie Els are spearheading the efforts on their respective tours. On Saturdays in April, players, caddies and others attending the events will be encouraged to wear blue shirts, representing Autism’s theme color. Pins and ribbons will also be made available. Contributions are being accepted at www.elsforautism.com/april. More information about autism may also be found at www.kresgeskrew.org.
WORLD-CLASS FIELD – 46 competitors from 14 countries, excluding the U.S., will be in Brazil this week. The host country will be represented by 11 players - Erik Andersson, Rafael Barcellos, Cristian Barcelos, Rafael Becker, Ronaldo Francisco, Philippe Gasnier, Lucas Lee, Odair De Lima, Fernando Mechereffe, Alexandre Rocha and Daniel Stapff. Mechereffe is a Web.com Tour member again this year after finishing 90th in 24 starts last year. Rocha retains PGA TOUR status this year having finished 131st on the money list in 2012. In addition to Brazil, South America will be represented by golfers from Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Paraguay.
IT'S THE PATH TO THE PGA TOUR FOR LATIN AMERICANS, TOO - With the Web.com Tour's enhanced presence in Latin America, more and more players from the region will have opportunities to play their way to Tour status and ultimately to the PGA TOUR. The 2013 Web.com Tour international roster includes a number of players from Latin America - Argentina (6), Brazil (1), Colombia (1) and Mexico (3). The opportunities are bolstered this year with the debut of PGA TOUR Latinoamérica and its five 2012 leading money winners having earned membership. Benjamin Alvarado of Chile is in the best position thus far of any non-member Latin American to secure Special Temporary Membership in 2013. He earned $28,600 when he finished T4 in the Chile Classic last month. To earn STM, a player must earn the equivalent of 100th spot on the 2012 money list ($54,799).
A GOOD WEEK TO CASH IN – Twenty out of last year’s “25” Web.com Tour graduates are headed to San Antonio for this week’s Valero Texas Open. The class is off to a good start on the PGA TOUR through the first third of 2013, led by Russell Henley, who captured the Sony Open in Hawaii. Five of the grads hold down top-50 positions on the FedExCup points list – Henley (10th), Luke Guthrie (28th), Brian Stuard (31st), James Hahn (40th) and David Lingmerth (46th).
ANOTHER IN PURSUIT OF MEMBERSHIP – Monday qualifier and non-Tour member Blayne Barber finished T6 at the recent Chitimacha Louisiana Open in his first Web.com Tour appearance of 2013. With his top-25 finish, the former Auburn University All-American and Walker Cup team member from Lake City, Fla. secured a spot in the field in Brazil. He looks to follow in the footsteps of three former collegiate golf foes who had no status on the Web.com Tour prior to the start of the 2012 season, yet earned their PGA TOUR cards by season's end via "The 25" - Luke Guthrie, Ben Kohles and Morgan Hoffmann.
NEXT WEEK – The Web.com Tour travels from Brazil to Midland, Texas for the 22nd WNB Golf Classic (Apr. 11-14).