Big purse attracts some big names to SFBC
By By Will Bardwell / staff writer
Oct. 1, 2003
MADISON The "Big Boys" may not be as commonplace as the Southern Farm Bureau Classic's promoters claim, but the tournament does feature perhaps its most star-studded field yet.
The PGA Tour's top draws will compete this weekend in the WGC-American Express Championship in Woodstock, Ga. Still, the SFBC is not without its own big names.
Now in its 34th year the 10th straight at Annandale Golf Club and the fifth since Farm Bureau became the event's corporate sponsor the SFBC's $3 million purse has attracted some of golf's most famous faces, including winners of each of golf's majors.
Corey Pavin, the 1995 U.S. Open champion, is here. So is John Daly, the winner of the 1995 British Open and the 1991 PGA Championship. Two-time Masters champion Bernhard Langer, who won in Augusta in 1985 and 1993, is in the field. Lee Janzen, a two-time U.S. Open champion, is entered, and so is 1983 PGA Championship winner Hal Sutton.
Sutton, who was named captain of the USA's 2004 Ryder Cup team, said the week in Mississippi is a sort of homecoming.
Sutton has not played a tournament at Annandale since 1997, when the event was known as the Deposit Guaranty Golf Classic.
The Annandale course will provide plenty of challenges for players. The course has four holes longer than 500 yards, including the 579-yard 11th hole. At 473, the 14th hole is a long, challenging par 4 with a two-level green guarded on back by a creek. The 465-yard No. 4 hole, a par 4, was ranked one of the 18 toughest holes played all year by the PGA Tour in 1994.
Veteran mystique aside, Sutton's mere presence adds a bit of international intrigue to this year's SFBC, as fellow competitor Langer is the European Ryder Cup captain for 2004.
Players took in a practice round on Tuesday, and several of the tournament's big names will compete in the Pro-Am on Wednesday. Tournament play begins Thursday.
The $3 million purse is the largest in the history of the tournament. The SFBC's winner will take home $540,000.