ZURICH ARGENTINA SWING
The First Look: 2017 VISA Open de Argentina presentado por Macro
Played at the Alister Mackenzie designed Jockey Club, this will be the last full field event of the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season
November 15, 2017
By Gregory Villalobos, PGATOURLA.COM
- November 15, 2017
- The Jockey Club’s Red Course welcomes this event for the 16th time. (Enrique Berardi/PGA TOUR)
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – As the last full-field event of the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season, this week’s 112th VISA Open de Argentina presentado por Macro will play a decisive role. For the second consecutive year, the winner will receive an exemption for The 147th Open Championship to be played at Carnoustie. Players in this field will also be looking to win the Zurich Argentina Swing and to position themselves in the Order of Merit, seeking to make the Tour team for the Aruba Cup and the top-60 that will qualify for the season-ending Shell Championship.
DATES: November 13-19, 2017
OFFICIAL NAME: 112º VISA Open de Argentina presentado por Macro
HASHTAGS: #112VISAOpenARG #VISAOpenARG #ZurichArgentinaSwing
SCHEDULE: 17th of 18 events on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica schedule
ZURICH ARGENTINA SWING: Fourth and final event on this competition
VENUE: Jockey Club – Buenos Aires, Argentina
PAR/YARDS: 70 (34-36) 6,866
ORDER OF MERIT: Winner earns U.S. $31,500 from a $175,000 purse.
THE OPEN: Winner will play The 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie
2015-2016 CHAMPION: Kent Bulle, USA (not playing this year)
CUT: Top-55 and ties
HONORING DE VICENZO: This will be the first playing of this event since the passing of Argentine great Roberto De Vicenzo, who passed away on June 1st at the age of 94. With 231 career wins around the world, De Vicenzo was arguably the most prolific winner in golf history. That record includes nine victories at the VISA Open de Argentina, an event he won in 1944, 1949, 1951, 1952, 1958, 1965, 1967, 1970 and 1974 to become its winningest player to this day. The Argentine Golf Association will be honoring De Vicenzo with several events across the week, including an exhibit by the Roberto De Vicenzo Golf Museum.
THE TOURNAMENT: Instituted in 1905 and played every year since – except for 1945 – this prestigious championship is the pride of the Argentina Golf Association (AAG), which is partnering with PGA TOUR Latinoamérica for the sixth consecutive year. Behind The Open Championship, the India Open, the U.S. Open, the Australian Open, the South African Open and the Canadian Open, the VISA Open de Argentina is the seventh oldest National Open currently played in the world. Aside from De Vicenzo, the illustrious list of champions includes players such as Mungo Park (1905), Jimmy Demaret (1941), Tom Weiskopf (1979), Eduardo Romero (1989), Craig Stadler (1992), Mark Calcavecchia (1993 and 1995), Mark O'Meara (1994), Jim Furyk (1997), Angel Cabrera (2001, 2002 and 2012) and Jhonattan Vegas (2010).
WINNERS OF THIS EVENT ON PGA TOUR LATINOAMÉRICA: The VISA Open de Argentina is making its sixth consecutive appearance as a PGA TOUR Latinoamérica sanctioned event. The following are the winners since it joined the Tour in 2012:
2012 Ángel Cabrera (ARG) -18 at Nordelta
2013 Marcelo Rozo (COL) -10 at Nordelta
2014 Emiliano Grillo (ARG) -18 at Martindale CC
2015 Kent Bulle (USA) -11 at the Jockey Club
2016 Kent Bulle (USA) -9 at Olivos GC *
*Won in a playoff
LEADING SPONSORS: In Argentina since the seventies and a solid title sponsor for several years, VISA has been involved with this prestigious event for 21 years. “As hosts of the seventh oldest National Open in the world, we understand and celebrate long-term relationships, and we are honored by the support provided by VISA, which is essential in the promotion of golf through our most important championship,” said AAG president, Andrés Schönbaum.
Meanwhile, Banco Macro is making its debut as presenting sponsor of this event. Established as Financiera Macro in 1985, Banco Macro is nowadays the private bank with the largest network of branch offices throughout Argentina and has positioned itself as number one among local banks of private capital.
ZURICH ARGENTINA SWING: This will be the fourth and final leg in the race for the Zurich Argentina Swing, a competition that provides a unified brand around the Tour’s Argentine events. Closing its third year supporting the local events, Zurich Argentina will reward the top-performing player across all four events with a cash prize of U.S. $10,000. After winning the NEC Argentina Classic on Sunday, Argentina’s own Julián Etulain enters the week as the leader, but he is only $755 dollars ahead of countryman Nelson Ledesma.
2017 ZURICH ARGENTINA SWING TOP-5
EARNINGS US $
Julián Etulain, ARG
Nelson Ledesma, ARG
Jared Wolfe, USA
Brandon Matthews, USA
Hank Lebioda, USA
CHARITY: Providing a valuable charity component to these events, Zurich Argentina raises $600 Argentine Pesos for every birdie or better made on the 18th hole during all four competitive rounds at each event. Its charity of choice is Fundación Integrar, a foundation that runs a scholarship program to support college students in Argentina. Zurich Argentina raised $130,000 Argentine Pesos last year, but with 296 birdies/eagles already made this year, the donation is at $177,600 entering this week’s final event.
BIRDIES FOR COLLEGE EDUCATION
BIRDIES / EAGLES
ARG PESOS RAISED
Molino Cañuelas Championship
86º Abierto OSDE del Centro
NEC Argentina Classic
112º VISA Open de Argentina
GOLF COURSE: There are two 18-hole golf courses at the Jockey Club and both, the Red Course (Cancha Colorada) and the Blue Course (Cancha Azul) were designed by legendary architect Alister Mackenzie in 1930. The Red one, a 6,866-yard layout, is the premier course at this property and it first welcomed the VISA Open de Argentina in 1931. This year the tournament returns for the 16th time, having hosted nine of the past 24 editions. The Jockey Club was also the home of the 1970 World Cup of Golf, an event won by Australia that had Roberto De Vicenzo claiming top individual honors. The following numbers show how the course played two years ago during the first visit by PGA TOUR Latinoamérica:
Avg. O/U Par
FIELD WATCH: This field features 48 of the players currently ranked inside the top-60 on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Order of Merit. That number includes the winners of 11 of the 15 events that have had a champion this season... The only Top-10 player missing this week is Tour No. 1 José de Jesús “El Camarón” Rodríguez. The 36-year old from Irapuato, Mexico, currently holds a $33,937-dollar lead and will remain at the top even if the second ranked player, Jared Wolfe, wins this week... Two-time major champion Ángel Cabrera is once again a player to watch at the Jockey Club, a venue where he won the first of his three VISA Open de Argentina titles in 2001... Looking for his first win at this event, there’s another top-Argentine player in Andrés Romero. The 2008 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year is coming off a season in which he won the BMW International Open on the European Tour… Cabrera, Romero and fellow Argentine Miguel “Tati” Carballo entered the field via a category for players who have status on the Web.com Tour... Regarding sponsor exemptions, the AAG awarded five of them to its top amateurs and invited two fan-favorite veterans in Eduardo “Gato” Romero and Vicente “Chino” Fernández. At 71, Fernández is an eight-time tournament winner who ranks just behind De Vicenzo among the All-Time champions.
OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP EXEMPTION: For the second consecutive year, The R&A will award the VISA Open de Argentina champion an exemption for The Open Championship. The 147th playing of that prestigious major championship will be played at Carnoustie, July 15-22, 2018. Last year’s winner, Kent Bulle, was the first winner of this event to receive an exemption to The Open. He went on to make the cut at Royal Birkdale last July, posting rounds of 68-72-74-76 for a 77th place finish. Winner of the VISA Open de Argentina in 2015 and 2016, Bulle is missing this year’s event because of his honeymoon.
OTHER STORYLINES: With only two events left to play this season, the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica’s top players have their sights set on having a strong season finish to land on the Web.com Tour in 2018. The leading money winner at the end of the season will claim the Roberto De Vicenzo Award and earn exempt status on the Web.com Tour. The following four will earn conditional status and the other five will qualify to the Web.com Tour’s Q-School final stage, which also earns them Web.com Tour status for the following season... By finishing the season inside the Order of Merit top-10, players can also make the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica team that will battle the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada team at the Aruba Cup, December 11-16 at Tierra del Sol in Aruba… Down by the 60th spot, players are having an equally intense battle to make the top-60 who will keep their Tour cards and qualify to the season-ending Shell Championship in Miami, November 27-December 3.
TELEVISION: Golf Channel Latin America will air a half-hour highlight show Monday, November 20 at 9:30 p.m. Argentina time... Fox Sports 2 will also have a highlight show the following weekend... Next month, the tournament will be featured on “Esto es PGA TOUR Latinoamérica,” the Tour’s official TV show, which airs on Golf Channel Latin America, ESPN Latin America, Claro Sports and Fox Sports 2 Latin America.