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Very cool golf news out of Alabama!

Miguel Angel Jimenez has committed to play in the PGA Tour Champions 2017 Regions Tradition at Greystone Golf & Country Club. The club, located in Hoover south of Birmingham, was the original home to the tournament, which at the time was known as the Bruno’s Memorial Classic.

Screen Shot 2017-03-11 at 1.14.29 PM.pngGreystone is a gorgeous facility with a challenging layout. The tournament also has been held at Ross Bridge, an RTJ Trail course, and Shoal Creek Golf Club, which will play host to the USGA’s 2017 US Women’s Open.

The Bruno’s Memorial Classic began in 1991 as a way to bring fun, competitive golf with well-known albeit older PGA Tour players. That first event had Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Chi Chi Rodriguez as guests, and was won by George Archer. Other winners over the years include Jim Dent, Alabama native Hubert Green, Hale Irwin and Andy Bean.

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The preliminary field has been announced for the 2016 Barbasol Championship and is pretty darn strong given the number of major championship and PGA Tour winners among the names.

David Toms

David Toms is one of several major championship winners in the Barbasol Championship field. (Photo: Barbasol Championship)

I attended the 2015 Barbasol Championship, which is held at the Lake Course at the RTJ Golf Trail in Opelika, Ala. It was hot — the tournament is held in mid-July — and the course meanders through a portion of woods that traps heat and humidity. That may not be a proper atmospheric description but ask any good ol’ Southern boy and they’ll agree. Those woods on the back nine, especially the No. 10 green and holes 11, 12, 13 and 14, are like stepping into a sauna.

When I’m at a tournament I listen to the fans to hear what they think. A couple of times last year I heard “Who’s he?” or “None of the big names are here.” I’ve heard similar comments at the Regions Tradition, a major on the Tour Champions schedule in Birmingham. Usually those are “These are the older guys” kind of comments.

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Turning 50 years old is a milestone, and in the professional golf world it signifies the minimum age to join the PGA Tour Champions circuit against the best older players still making the rounds.

DalyThe PGA Tour Champions rebranded this year from the Champions Tour. Either way, it’s a cool way for pro golfers to continue playing on some fabulous courses and interacting with fans. I’m glad they do.

It’s fun seeing players I grew up watching up close without the monstrous throngs of fans. I usually go to the Regions Tradition in Birmingham for a day or two. Being close to the players on tees, greens and fairways is awesome. It’s been held at Greystone Golf and Country Club, Ross Bridge RTJ Trail and, most recently, at Shoal Creek. It’s moving back to Greystone in May 2016.

Big news for the 2016 tournament is that two-time major champion John Daly has committed to play in the Regions Tradition. He won the PGA Championship and Open Championships, has had an interesting life in the public eye, and will be 50 on April 28. That’s the magic number and Daly will take advantage of the PGA Tour Champions possibility.

Great news for fans. Can’t wait!

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Ross Bridge is a fantastic resort southwest of Birmingham where you can get great food, relaxing accommodations and a stunning golf course that will test anyone's skills.

Ross Bridge is a fantastic resort southwest of Birmingham where you can get great food, relaxing accommodations and a stunning golf course that will test anyone’s skills.

If you’re looking for a great getaway, Alabama’s fantastic Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail has some super resorts and deals to take advantage of this autumn.

I’ve had the great pleasure to stay at Renaissance Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa in Birmingham a few times and it’s fantastic. The rooms are great, the beds are like clouds to fall into and the restaurant has a super variety of food and drinks. Downstairs you’ll find a spa where you could get a massage, manicures, pedicures, facials and whatnot.

You even could create your own personalized Aveda bath salts, as we were able to do last year during a travel writer’s visit to Ross Bridge. I used rosemary oil, and my wife loved it. You also could create your own facial scrubs or skin lotions, too.

To say the resorts are top-notch is an understatement. They’re regularly awarded high honors by travel associations and through visitor rating services. Check out these three getaway deals you should consider for a relaxing weekend:

Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort and Spa provides guests a wonderful experience, from the golf course to spa to dining and relaxation. (Photo: Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa)

Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort and Spa provides guests a wonderful experience, from the golf course to spa to dining and relaxation. (Photo: Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa)

Renaissance Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa
The Renaissance Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa in Birmingham offers the best of both worlds for your hotel getaway – from tranquility at the award-winning spa to terrific dining and on-site championship golf. Play one round at Ross Bridge with lodging for one night for $157 plus tax (based on double occupancy).

Montgomery Marriott Prattville Hotel & Conference Center
Nestled alongside the renowned Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, the Montgomery Marriott Prattville Hotel & Conference Center at Capitol Hill features 54 holes of championship golf, signature dining and well-appointed guest rooms and suites. Play one round at Capitol Hill with lodging for one night for $144 plus tax (based on double occupancy).

Grand Hotel Marriott Resort, Golf Club & Spa
Treat yourself to a memorable experience at the Grand Hotel Marriott Resort, Golf Club & Spa in Point Clear. The resort offers opportunities for both relaxation and entertainment with their 20,000 square-foot Grand Spa and two renowned golf courses at Lakewood Golf Club. Play one round at Lakewood with lodging for one night for $145 plus tax (based on double occupancy).

 

For more information call 1-800-949-4444 or request a quote online.

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RTJ Trail Cards

2016 RTJ Trail Cards are now on sale at a special price of $35. Trail Cards can be purchased online or in the Pro Shop at any of our Trail sites, excluding Lakewood Golf Club.

Trail Card holders receive discounts on green fees and merchandise at all eleven RTJ Golf Trail sites. You can play some great courses including several that have hosted the PGA TOUR, PGA Champions Tour and LPGA Tour along with NCAA regional golf championships.

The RTJ Trail has a BYOB Scramble each year that’s pretty doggone popular. It’s billed as the World’s Largest Golf Tournament and will be Dec. 6 this year at the RTJ courses throughout Alabama. If you register for the BYOB Scramble you’ll get a free 2016 RTJ Trail Card included in the entry.

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Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 9.34.33 PMOPELIKA, Ala. — Notes, tidbits and other info from the Barbasol Championship, to be played on the Lake Course at Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Grand National.

(Notes provided by the PGA TOUR)

2015 Barbasol Championship pre-tournament notes
Dates: July 13–19, 2015
Where: Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Grand National, Lake Course, Opelika/Auburn, Alabama
Par/Yards: 35-36–7,302, par-71
Field: 132
2014 champion: inaugural event
Purse: $3,500,000/$630,000 (winner)
FedExCup: 300 points to the winner
Format: 72-hole stroke play
Website: www.barbasolchampionship.com
Twitter: @BarbasolPGATOUR

David Toms is one of only three major championship winners in the field of 132.

David Toms is one of only three major championship winners in the field of 132.

A look at the 2015 Barbasol Championship

  • The Barbasol Championship will be the first PGA TOUR event in Alabama since the 1990 PGA Championship.
  • With only eight events remaining before the FedExCup Playoffs, the Barbasol Championship will play an important role in the field for the first Playoffs event at The Barclays.

The Barbasol Championship and the FedExCup Playoffs

In 2014, it took 438 FedExCup points (No. 125/Robert Allenby) to qualify for the FedExCup Playoffs. Below are players in the field that are currently on “the bubble” for the FedExCup Playoffs:

FedExCup Position                  Player                          FedExCup Points

120                                          Mark Wilson                391

123                                          Brian Stuard                377

124                                          Billy Hurley III              372

126                                          Scott Langley              365

128                                          Will Wilcox                  358

129                                          Alex Prugh                  353

130                                          Brice Garnett              352

132                                          Blayne Barber             345

134                                          Michael Thompson     339

135                                          Charlie Beljan             337

140                                          Ryo Ishikawa              321

 

A glance at the field:

  • The highest-ranked player in the FedExCup standings is Scott Piercy (No. 42).
  • Three former major championship winners: Trevor Immelman, Shaun Micheel, David Toms.
  • The highest-ranked player in the Official World Golf Rankings is Emiliano Grillo at No. 98. Grillo lost in a five-person playoff earlier this season on TOUR at the Puerto Rico Open.

 

  • A total of 62 players in the field have won 149 PGA TOUR events. One player in the field has won on TOUR this season (Alex Cejka/Puerto Rico Open).
  • Players with ties to the State of Alabama include: Blayne Barber (Auburn), Josh Broadaway (Troy State), Glen Day (born in Mobile, Alabama), Patton Kizzire (Auburn), Steve Lowery (Alabama), Ben Schlottman (Auburn), Robby Shelton (Alabama), Heath Slocum (South Alabama), Zack Sucher (UAB), Michael Thompson (Alabama), Brett Wetterich (Wallace State Community College) and Will Wilcox (UAB).
  • Two players who competed at the 1990 PGA Championship in Birmingham are in the field including: Billy Mayfair (T5) and Robert Gamez (T49). Arnold Palmer missed the cut at the 1990 PGA Championship. His grandson Sam Saunders will compete in the 2015 Barbasol Championship.

Player Notes

  • Steve Flesch won the 1997 Web.com Tour Championship (at that time Nike Tour) at RTJ’s Grand National course using an Opelika fire fighter with great course knowledge as his caddie. Flesh won by four shots over Chris Smith who is also in the Barbasol Championship field.
  • Two-time heart transplant recipient Erik Compton, who is currently No. 119 in the FedExCup standings, amassed three top 10s in 2014, including T2 at the U.S. Open. Compton has struggled this season with one top 10 in 23 starts on TOUR. Compton played college golf at the University of Georgia.
  • LSU graduate David Toms is looking for his first top 10 on TOUR since a T9 at the Sanderson Farms Championship earlier this season. Toms has only missed the FedExCup Playoffs two of the previous eight seasons (2008 and 2013). He is currently No. 146 in the FedExCup.
  • Boo Weekley lives in Florida but spends his downtime hunting and fishing.

    Boo Weekley lives in Florida but spends his downtime hunting and fishing.

    Former Auburn golfer and PGA TOUR rookie Blayne Barber enters the Barbasol Championship at No. 132 in the FedExCup standings (Top 125 get into the FedExCup Playoffs).

  • Michael Thompson is in the last year of his exemption from winning the 2013 Honda Classic. He is currently outside of the top 125 in the FedExCup standings. Thompson attended Tulane University two seasons until the school disbanded its golf team after Hurricane Katrina. He transferred to the University of Alabama and was the 2008 SEC Player of the Year.
  • Nicholas Thompson enters the Barbasol Championship with only one top 10 (T9/OHL Classic at Mayakoba) this season, but is inside the top 125 in the FedExCup standings. Nicholas’ sister Lexi won the 2011 Navistar LPGA Classic at Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Capitol Hill in Prattville, Alabama to become the youngest winner in LPGA Tour history at 16 years, 7 months and 8 days old.
  • Milton, Florida native Boo Weekley is having a solid season on TOUR with five top 10s, including a T2 at the Sanderson Farms Championship and a third-place finish at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Weekley spends time hunting in Alabama on his uncle’s land.
  • Lefty Scott Langley enters the week on the bubble for the FedExCup Playoffs at No. 126 ( top 125 get into the Playoffs).

Barbasol Championship Exemption Notes

  • Richy Werenski, winner of the Golf Channel’s reality TV competition program “The Big Break,” earned an exemption through the show. Werenski is a Web.com Tour member and has never made a start on the PGA TOUR.
  • An exemption was also given to the Division I Jack Nicklaus Player of the Year Award, Maverick McNealy. The Stanford golfer is currently the No. 2 amateur in the world. He will make his third career start on the PGA TOUR (T60/2015 The Greenbrier Classic and MC/2014 U.S. Open).
  • Former Auburn golfer Patton Kizzire is currently No. 1 on the Web.com Tour money list. He will be looking for his second made cut in his fourth career start on the PGA TOUR (T54/2014 McGladrey Classic).
  • Entering his sophomore season at Auburn, Ben Schlottman will make his first career start on TOUR. He was the SEC Freshman of the Year and earned 2015 All-SEC first-team (first freshman in Auburn history to be named All-SEC first-team).
  • Entering his junior season at Alabama, Robby Shelton will make his second career start in a PGA TOUR event. He missed the cut last season at the U.S. Open.

Tournament Sponsor

Barbasol has a long-standing connection with golf that dates back to the 1920s and 30s, when advertising campaigns featured product endorsements from celebrated PGA TOUR golfers Johnny Farrell and Craig Wood. Today, Barbasol is proud to sponsor the 2015 Barbasol Championship and has wide-reaching involvement across several levels of the sport. The brand sponsors talented professional golfers among the PGA TOUR, Web.com Tour and Champions Tour, and supports collegiate golf by presenting the Jack Nicklaus Player of the Year Award. Barbasol-sponsored professional golfers in 2015 include Ryan Armour, Chad Campbell, Ben Curtis, Chris DiMarco, Kyle Reifers, Brian Stuard, Robert Streb, Bronson Burgoon, Joel Dahmen, Martin Piller, Russ Cochran, Neal Lancaster, and Loren Roberts.

Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail
In the late 1980s, two very important things were on the mind of Dr. David Bronner, CEO of the Retirement Systems of Alabama. First, how to effectively diversify the assets of the state’s pension fund; and secondly, how to help the state of Alabama. His philosophy was this: “The stronger the Retirement Systems of Alabama can make Alabama, the stronger the Retirement Systems will be.” With that in mind, and borrowing a page from the movie script, “Field of Dreams,” Bronner decided to “build-it-and-they-will-come” — not to a baseball diamond in a corn field, but to a dazzling collection of public golf courses in the great state of Alabama.

Bronner’s idea was to use a hot (but clean-burning) vehicle like golf to boost tourism, attract retirees, and spur economic growth within the state. His vision was on a grand scale — big, really big. “I don’t do windows and I don’t do just 18s.” You see, Dr. Bronner wasn’t looking to build just an 18-hole public golf course, he wanted to build spectacular sites throughout the entire state, and all at one time! The Trail now has 26 courses at 11 different sites and offers 468 holes of great golf.

Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Grand National
Grand National, by all reports, was the single greatest site for a golf complex Robert Trent Jones, Sr. had ever seen. Built on 600-acre Lake Saugahatchee, 32 of the 54 holes drape along its filigreed shores. Both the Links course and the Lake course were in the top 10 of Golf Digest’s list of “America’s Top 50 Affordable Courses” and all three courses at Grand National are listed among the nation’s 40 Super Value courses by Golf Digest’s “Places to Play”. With 12 holes hugging the shore of Lake Saugahatchee, the Lake course is one of the most scenic courses you can find. The quartet of par 3s is as good as any in the nation.

2014-15 PGA TOUR Season Highlights
So far in the 2015 calendar year, 15 of the 28 tournaments have been won by players in the top 25 in the Official World Golf Ranking at the time of their respective victories: Patrick Reed (23), Jimmy Walker (17th at Sony Open in Hawaii, 13th at Valero Texas Open), Jason Day (8), Dustin Johnson (16), Jordan Spieth (10th at the Valspar Championship, 4th at the Masters, 2nd at U.S. Open and 2nd at John Deere Classic), J.B. Holmes (20), Jim Furyk (10), Justin Rose (8), Rickie Fowler (13) and Rory McIlroy (1st at the WGC-Cadillac Match Play and 1st at the Wells Fargo Championship).

On TOUR this season, 15 of the 35 stroke-play events have been determined by a playoff, most recently at last week’s John Deere Classic (Jordan Spieth).

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OPELIKA, Ala. — If you can’t make it to the PGA Tour Barbasol Championship this week at the Grand National course on the RTJ Golf Trail, you can still catch the action thanks to Golf Channel.

Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 9.34.33 PMHere is the scoop on airtimes and other tournament info:

Barbasol Championship
Dates: July 16-19
Venue: RTJ Golf Trail at Grand National (Lake Course), Auburn/Opelika, Ala.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday         4-7 p.m. (Live) / 1-3 a.m. (Friday replay)
Friday              4-7 p.m. (Live) / 3-5 a.m. (Saturday replay)
Saturday          4-7 p.m. (Live) / 3-5 a.m. (Sunday replay)
Sunday            4-7 p.m. (Live) / 3-5 a.m. (Monday replay) 

Broadcast Notes:
New event: This is the inaugural playing of the Barbasol Championship, and marks the first time that a PGA TOUR event is being played in Alabama since the 1990 PGA Championship at Shoal Creek near Birmingham. The Lake Course at Grand National is a familiar venue to several of golf’s biggest stages, having previously hosted the Web.com Tour Championship in 1997, the LPGA Tour’s Tournament of Champions in 1998, and the 2000 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship and 2004 NCAA Divison I Women’s Championship.

Werenski in the field on sponsor’s exemption: Web.com Tour member Richy Werenski is in the field this week, competing on an exemption he earned for winning Golf Channel’s Big Break The Palm Beaches, FL competition series earlier this year.

Headlining the field: Charles Howell III, Erik Compton, Boo Weekley, Maverick McNeerly (a), Aaron Baddeley, Derek Ernst, Ken Duke, Derek Fathauer and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano.

Golf Channel Broadcast Team:
Play by Play: Brian Hammons
Analyst: Curt Byrum
Tower: Craig Perks
On-Course: Phil Blackmar / Billy Ray Brown

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