After the press conference at Big Cedar Lodge announcing the Champions Tour event, we had a chance to talk briefly with Missouri’s own Tom Watson, 2014 Ryder Cup Captain and member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.
TMGP: We at The Post had pieced together the fact that there was a major announcement coming about The Champions Tour and Buffalo Ridge (formerly Branson Creek GC). But it was a bit of a shock, and a pleasant surprise, to learn the details of the format and that Top of the Rock will also be a venue for the event.
Tom Watson: How about that! We’re going to play the 18-hole Buffalo Ridge, of course, but we’re also going to play the 9-hole par three Top of the Rock course. What a place it is up there overlooking Table Rock Lake…And it’s a unique format at Top of the Rock. We’re going to be playing best ball, a format most golfers know and play when they go out in their foursome and have a match. We’ll also play alternate shot, a format familiar to those who’ve seen the Ryder Cup competitions. But we’re also going to have a scramble format included in the event. Many golfers play a scramble when they play in one day charity tournaments—it’s a fun way to play. This is the first time a scramble format will be shown on TV as part of a PGA or Champions Tour event!
TMGP: Maybe we should involve some of our state’s notable amateurs in the pro-am portion of the event? Get Don Bliss and Jim Holtgrieve to play?
TW: That would be great—get a little “local Missouri flavor” introduced into the pro-am.
TMGP: We’ll be doing all we can to keep Missouri golfers informed as preparations for the tournament continue in the weeks and months leading up to that first week in June. This Branson area is really quite something, don’t you think?
TW: It sure is. Big Cedar Lodge is really an iconic place in this area—and just the natural beauty down here is spectacular. What until you take that cart ride from the parking lot up to Top of the Rock! You’ve got overlooks, caves, crevasses, the view of Table Rock. It’s really amazing.
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