Greater Gwinnett Champ. to be held at TPC Sugarloaf

October 02, 2012
Champions Tour staff

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- The Champions Tour is back in Atlanta.

The Greater Gwinnett Championship will be held at TPC Sugarloaf in Duluth, Ga., April 15-21, 2013. The course will host the tournament through 2016.

The Gwinnett Sports Commission, the host entity for the tournament, will operate the 54-hole stroke play tournament with 81 Champions Tour professionals competing for the $1.8 million purse. The top-10 finishers in the tournament will also be awarded official Charles Schwab Cup points. The Charles Schwab Cup is the season-long, points-based competition launched in 2001 to determine the Champions Tour's leading player.

The Greater Gwinnett Championship will be presented by Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating and will contribute funds raised to various local charitable organizations via the Gwinnett Sports Commission Foundation. Mitsubishi Electric is an Official Sponsor of the PGA TOUR.

"We have been working on a return to the Atlanta market for a couple of years and it's exciting to have it come to fruition. The current list of Champions Tour players entertained the Atlanta-area fans with some exciting golf at TPC Sugarloaf in the past and they're anxious to return to a city and a golf course they've enjoyed so much," said Champions Tour President Mike Stevens.

The last time a Champions Tour event was played in the Atlanta area was 12 years ago when Hale Irwin won the Nationwide Championship at the Golf Club of Georgia in Alpharetta, an event that lasted a decade from 1991-2000.

"We are so excited to have the PGA TOUR back in Gwinnett County and back at the beautiful TPC Sugarloaf course," said Stan Hall, the executive director of the Gwinnett Sports Commission. "Gwinnett has a long and wonderful history with the PGA TOUR and this Champions Tour event is the perfect fit to bring professional golf back to this venue. Its presence has been sorely missed. We look forward to a great event in 2013 and a long run with the PGA TOUR in the years to come."

"The Greater Gwinnett Championship offers us a terrific opportunity to leverage our involvement with the Champions Tour in our home market," said Bill Rau, senior vice president and general manager of Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating. "It is a natural extension of our commitment to the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai, our telecast sponsorship of the Champions Tour on Golf Channel, and our player sponsorships with Fred Funk, Fred Couples and Corey Pavin. It is great for our brand and great for our community."

TPC Sugarloaf opened in 1997 and was Champions Tour star Greg Norman's first foray into golf course design in the United States. Three championship nine-hole courses occupy 1,200 acres of former farmland. The Gwinnett Championship will be played over "The Stables" and "The Meadows" nines, a par-72 layout that measures 7,259 yards.

The most recent tournament hosted by TPC Sugarloaf was the 2008 AT&T Classic. Three current Champions Tour players finished runner-up in the AT&T Classic when it was held at TPC Sugarloaf from 1997-2008. Kenny Perry was defeated by Ryuji Imada in a playoff in 2008, Jay Don Blake was runner-up to Tiger Woods in 1998 and Bob Tway finished second to Ben Crane in 2003.

The Greater Gwinnett Championship will attract some of the most recognizable names in golf to the Atlanta area, including World Golf Hall of Fame members including Tom Watson, Hale Irwin, Tom Kite and Larry Nelson, all of whom have won PGA TOUR events in Atlanta. Other current Champions Tour members who have won PGA TOUR events in Atlanta include Mark Calcavecchia, Corey Pavin, Wayne Levi, Scott Simpson, Bob Tway, Keith Fergus, Andy Bean, Jerry Pate and Hal Sutton, who is the only current Champions Tour player to have won the TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.

Champions Tour rookie Duffy Waldorf shares the TPC Sugarloaf course record of 63 with Tiger Woods, Ben Crane and Phil Mickelson.

All three rounds of the Greater Gwinnett Championship will be televised nationally by Golf Channel, the Champions Tour's exclusive cable-television partner, which reaches 83 million homes. The telecast will also be distributed internationally through various partners to 174 countries and territories reaching more than 95 million households.