The 40th annual Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf at Big Cedar Lodge tees off this Friday in Ridgevale, Missouri. The unique two-man team tournament will once again be hosted by Johnny Morris’ spectacular Big Cedar Lodge Resorts, and played at two of its award-winning golf courses: Top of the Rock – the only par-3 on the PGA Tour, and the 18-hole Buffalo Ridge.
Dates: April 17-23, 2017
Location: Ridgedale, Missouri
Purse: $2,400,000/$360,000 to winning team in Champions Division
Courses: Top of the Rock (9-hole); Buffalo Ridge-Springs Golf Course (18 holes)
Course Designers: Buffalo Ridge – Tom Fazio redesign (2014); Top of the Rock – Jack Nicklaus Signature (2014)
Title: Bass Pro Shops
Presenting: Big Cedar Lodge, MasterCard, and the State of Missouri.
The Divisions and Format
Champions Division (50-64): 54-hole, two-man team competition
The Champions Division will feature Hale Irwin, Tom Kite, Fred Couples, Ben Crenshaw, Sandy Lyle, Tom Watson, Mark O’Meara, Vijay Singh and Jose Maria Olazabal. Also competing in the Champions Division will be Davis Love III and Ian Woosnam, who are scheduled for induction later this year.
Legends Division (65+): 36-hole, two-man team competition
The Legends Division includes Hubert Green, Larry Nelson, Tony Jacklin, David Graham, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Lee Trevino.
Format: The Buffalo Ridge Springs course will utilize a better-ball format, while on the Top of the Rock par-3 course, nine holes will use the Scotch Foursome format and nine holes will use the better-ball.
Broadcaster: Golf Channel
Round 1: Friday: 11 PM – 1:30 PM CT
Round 2: Saturday: 4 PM – 6 PM CT
Round 3: Sunday: 4 PM – 6 PM CT
No Defending Champions
Allen and Austin Won’t Defend Title in Champions Division: After claiming the title in the Champions Division in 2016, the team of Michael Allen and Woody Austin won’t have the opportunity
to defend their title in 2017 since they have changed partners.
Allen will now team up with former Arkansas Razorback John Daly, making his first start in this event, while Austin is now teaming with Mark Calcavecchia. Allen also enjoyed success in this tournament in 2012 when he teamed with David Frost for the victory. Should the team of Allen & Daly prevail, Allen would become the first player to win with three different partners.
The Field, By The Numbers
The 2017 Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf at Big Cedar Lodge will once again have a well-decorated field.
- 778 PGA TOUR titles
- 549 PGA TOUR Champions victories
- 86 major championships on the PGA TOUR
- 80 major titles on PGA TOUR Champions
- 16 current members of the World Golf Hall of Fame entered
- 2 players who will be inducted later this year
- 9 former captains of the U.S. Ryder Cup team
- 2 former captains of the European squad
- 5 have been captains of the U.S. Presidents Cup team
- 2 have led the International team
- This year will be the 40th Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf at Big Cedar Lodge, and the fourth year the event will be played in the state of Missouri. This tournament is also the second oldest in senior golf, with only the 78-year-old Senior PGA Championship exceeding it in longevity.
- The first Legends of Golf event was contested at Onion Creek Country Club in Austin, TX, in 1978, two years before the start of the Senior PGA TOUR. This event is credited with helping spawn what is now known as PGA TOUR Champions.
- Its $400,000 purse in 1978 was the largest in professional golf at the time. The winners of the first tournament were Sam Snead and Gardner Dickinson, who prevailed by a stroke over Peter Thomson and Kel Nagle in the team, better-ball format. In the 1979 Legends event, people started talking when Art Wall and Tommy Bolt made five birdies in a playoff only to be matched by five birdies from the team of Julius Boros and Roberto De Vicenzo. Boros and De Vicenzo finally prevailed that year by making birdie on the sixth extra hole.
- The Legends Division remained an unofficial team event through 2001 except for 1993 when it was contested as a stroke-play tournament. However, in 2002, the Legends Division became an official stroke-play tournament and was played under that format through 2007.
- In 2008, the Legends Division reverted to a team, better-ball format but with official money for the first time. The tournament added a Legendary Division in 1987 for players over the age of 60.
- Big Cedar Lodge is the sixth home of the tournament. It was played in Austin, TX, from 1978-94 (Onion Creek Country Club and Barton Creek Country Club) before a three-year run in La Quinta, CA, from 1995-97. After a year at the Golf Club of Amelia Island (1998) in Amelia Island, FL, it moved to St. Augustine, FL, in 1999 and was played at both course at the World Golf Village through 2002 before relocating to Savannah in 2003. The Club at Savannah Harbor was the venue from 2003-2013.
Watson & North Have Enjoyed Success
One of the most successful teams in this event has been Tom Watson and Andy North. The pair won three consecutive titles in the Raphael Division in this event from 2005-2007 and claimed victory in the Legends Division in 2008.
At one point, they had a streak of 257 holes without a bogey from 2006-2010. They also played bogey-free a year ago as did the teams of Paul Goydos/Kevin Sutherland and Tom Pernice, Jr./Bob Tway.
Several Others to Debut in Event
In addition to Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly, several others will be making their first appearances in the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf at Big Cedar Lodge this year. That group includes David Toms, Vijay Singh, Tim Petrovic, Carlos Franco, Billy Mayfair, John Daly, Jose Maria Olazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez.
College Teammates to Partner
This year’s event will feature three teams made up of players who were teammates on their college teams. They include John Cook/Joey Sindelar (Ohio State), Lee Janzen/Rocco Mediate (Florida Southern) and Corey Pavin/Duffy Waldorf (UCLA).
Past Team Event Winners
Several other teams competing in this event have enjoyed previous success in team events. Scott Hoch and Kenny Perry won the 2008 Franklin Templeton Shootout as did Woody Austin and Mark Calcavecchia in 2007. Lee Janzen and Rocco Mediate were also victorious in the event in 2002, while Brad Faxon and Scott McCarron prevailed in 2000.
Wire-to-wire winners have been rare in this event as only six teams have accomplished that feat. The last to do so was the team of Andy North/Tom Watson in 2008. North also teamed with Jim Colbert to go wire-to-wire in 2000 and 2001. Other teams to go wire-to-wire include Hubert Green/Gil Morgan (1999), Charles Coody/Dale Douglass (1990) and Don January/Sam Snead (1982).
For the first time since competing in this event in 1993 (T2), Tom Weiskopf will play in the 2017 Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf at Big Cedar Lodge, teaming with Tony Jacklin. A 16-time winner on the PGA TOUR and a four-time winner on PGA TOUR Champions, Weiskopf last competed in a Tour event in 2002 when he finished T44 at The Countrywide Tradition in Scottsdale.
Ferree is Oldest in Field; Stricker the Youngest
Jim Ferree holds the distinction of being the oldest competitor in the field at age 85 (6/10/31). Ferree will team with 82-year-old Tommy Jacobs. The “youngest” player in the field is 50-year-old Steve Stricker, who turned 50 on February 23rd. Ferree made his debut in this event in 1984, teaming with Sam Snead. The pair finished T7. Ferree also teamed with the late Miller Barber for several years, including a pair of Demaret Division titles in 2002 and 2003.
The College of the Ozarks and the National Wildlife Museum and Aquarium are the two primary charities for the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf at Big Cedar Lodge. Since its move to Big Cedar Lodge in 2014, the event has raised $3 million for local charities. 25 Years Ago This Week: On April 19, 1992, Davis Love III wins the third of his five RBC Heritage titles when he finishes four better than Chip Beck at Harbour Town. Love also won titles in 1987, 1991, 1998 and 2003. One week later, Love would fire a final-round 10-under-par 62 to win the Kmart Greater Greensboro Open by six strokes over John Cook.
Credit: PGA Tour Media, Getty Images, Bass Pro Shops Legends Communications