CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Officials with the Chiquita Classic announced that River Run Country Club will host the Web.com Tour event beginning in 2013. A three-year agreement is in place. This year’s Chiquita Classic will be the second of four prestigious tournaments in the newly created Web.com Tour Finals which will determine the 50 players who earn PGA TOUR playing privileges for the 2013-2014 season and their eligibility positions under the TOUR’s enhanced qualifying system.
The PGA TOUR’s Web.com Tour together with Chiquita Brands brought the Chiquita Classic to the greater Charlotte area last September for the first time since the event’s inception in 2010. Russell Henley, who recently won the 2013 Sony Open in Hawaii becoming the first PGA TOUR rookie to win in his TOUR debut in 12 years, won the 2012 Classic in a sudden-death playoff.
“We are really pleased and excited to have River Run host the Chiquita Classic this year,” said Brian Kocher, Chiquita Brands Chief Financial Officer. “The course has one of the best layouts in the area and is sure to challenge all players come September. This is a marquee event for the area and for Chiquita. We are looking forward to not only watching some of the best golfers in the world compete in our own backyard, but to meaningfully and positively helping out local charities.”
In 2013, the most significant change ever in how a professional golfer qualifies for the PGA TOUR will debut. The Web.com Tour will be the path to the PGA TOUR, with all 50 cards for the 2013-14 season coming through the Web.com Tour. The 25 leading money-winners on the Web.com Tour will be guaranteed cards at the end of the 21-event Regular Season in August. Twenty-five additional cards will go to those players who earn the most cumulative money in the four Finals events in September. Positioning on the PGA TOUR's all-important priority ranking, which is used to form PGA TOUR fields, will be determined at the end of the Finals. The Finals will consist of the top 75 off the money list after the Regular Season, PGA TOUR members who are 126-200 on the FedExCup points list following the Wyndham Championship, and any non-members who earn enough FedExCup points to also finish 126-200.
"The Chiquita Classic was very well received in Charlotte last year and will only be enhanced as one of the four Web.com Tour Finals events that will lead to a uniquely new and exciting finish to the players' season-long quest to earn a PGA TOUR card in 2013," said Web.com Tour president Bill Calfee. "We look forward to working with Chiquita and our new River Run partners, and having a great week. The Chiquita Classic will feature fierce competition among Web.com Tour and PGA TOUR players on a great golf course, and be complimented by a variety of activities outside the ropes that will make for a fun week for everyone who attends."
Located just minutes north of Uptown Charlotte in Davidson, N.C., River Run presents a challenging course that features recently redesigned traditional-style bunkers, with grass faces and soft edges, which will most assuredly challenge any skilled golfer. Along with the bunker design changes, the club has transitioned their greens to Champion Ultra Dwarf Bermuda grass to provide some of the smoothest and fastest putting surfaces in the region. The course at River Run boasts several newly installed Championship tees which push the length to more than 7,300 yards.
“River Run is very honored and excited to be associated with an outstanding sponsor and such a prestigious Tour event,” said Greg Murphy, River Run Country Club board member. “The Chiquita Classic’s status as a Web.com Tour Finals event will guarantee an incredible field of professionals at the highest level of the game. Our membership and our community will rally around this great event and support the charities that will benefit from it. Our championship course provides a fair but stern test of golf, and we are very grateful to Chiquita for partnering with us in this endeavor.”
An important facet of the Chiquita Classic is its charity component. Tournament officials will once again activate the “Charity Ticket Program” which enables Charlotte-area 501(c)(3) charities to sell Chiquita Classic tickets and retain 100 percent of the sales for the benefit of their respective organizations.
The Chiquita Classic will be played Sept. 2-8 and feature a purse of $1 million. Golf Channel will broadcast tournament coverage from Thursday's opening round to the trophy presentation on Sunday.