All of the pre-tournament events have come and gone, and this morning over 80 of golf’s most decorated champions will go off in two “waves” at the stunning Top of the Rock par-three course and the Buffalo Ridge course a few miles away. Bass Pro Shops and golf course owner Johnny Morris and tournament director Kirk Elmquist will doubtless take a minute to smile in knowing that all of their hard work has paid off in the successful launching of the second year of the Bass Pro Legends event.
The teams of champions and “legends” (players 65 and over) will alternate between the two golf courses today and tomorrow in the 54-hole event. The only format change is that the play at Top of the Rock will be a “modified” scramble format allowing the players to choose their best tee ball and complete play from there. They will play a best ball format at Buffalo Ridge.
All teams will play the Top of the Rock course in Sunday’s tournament finale. Last year’s winning team of Fred Funk and Jeff Sluman has broken up because Funk wasn’t at all sure he could play earlier this year due to an injury. Sluman is paired with Tom Lehman and Funk with Edwardo Romero in this year’s event.
Probably the most noteworthy team is made up of legends, and friends, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus. Both have won all four of golf’s ‘majors’—Nicklaus at age 26 and Player at 29.
Player noted how unusual it is today for fierce rivals to also be good friends. “We never let our rivalry get in the way of our friendship. Back then, if you can imagine, we (Gary, Jack and the other member of golf’s ‘big three’ Arnold Palmer) traveled together a lot and were genuinely friendly off the golf course. Also, I’ve always admired the way Jack would shake your hand and say ‘well done’ if you beat him—and mean it.“, he said.
Below are the pairings for the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf tournament Friday and Saturday.
Can’t make it to Branson for the tournament? It will be televised on the Golf Channel from 11-1:30 CDT Friday and from 2-5 CDT on Saturday.