Primer: 2017 Sanderson Farms Championship

The best golfers in the world, who decided to tee it up this week, will be playing in Shanghai at the WGC-HSBC Champions, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t quality golf to watch here in the U.S. time zones.

The Sanderson Farms Championship, the long-running opposite-field tournament in Mississippi, will once again be contested at the Country Club of Jackson (MS).


HISTORY

The roots of the Sanderson Farms Championship were planted in 1968 when the event was established and called the Magnolia State Classic, playing off Mississippi’s nickname. The first winner was Mac McLendon, but other notable Magnolia Champions include Craig Stadler, Roger Maltbie, and Payne Stewart.

In 1986, Deposit Guaranty came on as the tournament’s title sponsor and remained its primary partner through 1998.

The annual event at the Country Club of Jackson changed its name three more times (Southern Farm Bureau, Viking Classic, True South Classic) until Sanderson Farms was announced as the title sponsor, starting in 2013.

While it plays opposite the HSBC Champions now, it has taken place the same week as The Masters and Open Championship in the past. As an opposite-field event, the winner does not earn a Masters exemption like other Tour events, and only offers 300 FedExCup points.

But a Sanderson victory still opens up its fair share of doors, including a two year PGA Tour exemption and check valued at $756,000 – more than what the winners of this weekend’s LPGA Tour ($270k) and Champions Tour ($305k) will receive, combined. Hardly a minor league event.


THE SKINNY

NAME: Sanderson Farms Championship
DATES: October 23-29, 2017
COURSE: Country Club of Jackson
WHERE: Jackson, Mississippi
DISTANCE: Par 72, 7,421 yards
FIELD: 132 players
FORMAR: 72-hole stroke play/36-hole cut
2016 WINNER: Cody Gribble
TOTAL POT: $4,200,000
WINNING SHARE: $756,000
PLAYOFF POINTS: 300


TV & ONLINE COVERAGE

THU: 2:30 PM – 5:30 PM (GOLF)
FRI: 2:30 PM – 5:30 PM (GOLF)
SAT: 2:30 PM – 5:30 PM (GOLF)
SUN: 2:30 PM – 5:30 PM (GOLF)
ONLINE: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook


DEFENDING CHAMPION

Cody Gribble entered the final round of the Sanderson Farms Championship trailing Luke List and Chris Kirk by one stroke. The then 26-year old rookie, though, carded a bogey-free 7-under 65 to win by four strokes over List, Kirk and Greg Owen.

The four-shot win was one shy of the tournament record, set by Frank Conner in 1988. Gribble’s week was highlighted by a second-round 9-under 63, which was one off the course record.


RECENT WINNERS

2016-17 Cody Gribble
2015-16 Peter Malnati
2014-15 Nick Taylor
2013-14 Woody Austin
2012-13 Scott Stallings
2011-12 Chris Kirk
2010-11 Bill Haas


THE FIELD

PAST CHAMPIONS (6)

Cody Gribble (2016)
Peter Malnati (2015)
Scott Stallings (2012)
Chris Kirk (2011)
D.J. Trahan (2006)
Luke Donald (2002)

MAJOR CHAMPIONS (3)

Angel Cabrera (2007 U.S. Open, 2009 Masters)
Retief Goosen (2001, 2004 U.S. Open)
Davis Love III (1997 PGA Championship)

NOTABLE TOUR WINNERS

Stuart Appleby (9)
Ben Crane (7)
Hunter Mahan (6)
Aaron Baddeley (4)
Steven Bowditch (2)
Smylie Kaufman (1)
Billy Hurley III (1)
Chesson Hadley (1)
William McGirt (1)

ODDS-ON FAVORITES

Cheeson Hadley 20-1
Jason Kokrak 20-1
Bronson Burgoon 25-1
Kevin Streelman 25-1
Chris Kirk 28-1
William McGirt 28-1
More…


NOTES

  • Sanderson Farms contract as the title sponsor of the PGA Tour’s Mississippi event through is good through 2026.
  • Cody Gribble, the defending champion, finished his rookie season 87th in the FedExCup standings.
  • Davis Love III, 53, will be making his 748th career start on the PGA Tour.
  • Dru Love, son of Davis, will play in the event on a sponsor exemption.
  • Hunter Mahan, the one-time world No. 4, who has seen his game fall off a cliff (now No. 658) in recent years, had his best finish (T13) in over two years at the season-opening Safeway Open.
  • Smylie Kaufman is looking to rebound from a tough sophomore season that saw the LSU alum finish outside the top 125 in the FedExCup standings, and drop from inside the world top 50 (No. 48) to outside of the top 200 (No. 216).

Credit: PGA Tour Media, Getty Imgaes. (Joel Cook contributed to this report.)


Jeff Smith

Jeff is a Producer for Pro Golf Weekly. He is producing a digital documentary on the 2016-17 PGA Tour season.

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