Professional golfers ready to tee off at TPC Colorado Championship
In as clear of a sign as any that life is returning to normal, this week the beautiful TPC Colorado Golf Course at Heron Lakes in Berthoud will welcome the Korn Ferry Tour event with the bells and whistles and then some that marked the inaugural event two years ago.
This week, 156 players will descend upon Berthoud for the Korn Ferry Tour’s TPC Colorado Championship at Heron Lakes. When the event was held in 2019, the event and TPC Colorado earned the prestigious “Product of the Year” award from the tour and was widely lauded by players, sponsors, media and fans alike as a first-class experience.
The Korn Ferry Tour, which bills itself as “the climb to the PGA Tour” is the leading professional development league for those who aspire to play golf at the highest level in the world. The 2020 champion, Will Zalatoris, has already made his name on the PGA Tour, finishing in the top 10 in three of the four major championships in which he has competed. Zalatoris finished in a tie for sixth place at the 2020 U.S. Open, a tie for eighth at the 2021 PGA Championship and as runner-up at the 2021 Masters, regarded by many as the game’s most prestigious event.
“The Korn Ferry Tour is where we strive to identify, prepare and transition the next set of PGA Tour stars – that’s our goal – that’s what guides us every time,” said Bo DeHuff, director of Tournament Business and Sponsor Relations for the PGA Tour stated. “The Korn Ferry Tour continues to grow; our players continue to play well … we (had) 11 Korn Ferry Tour members playing at Torrey Pines for the U.S. Open (in mid-June).”
DeHuff further explained that the Korn Ferry Tour continues to grow and will be increasing the purse sizes for each tournament in the years ahead. “Our regular season purses will be growing to $750,000 in 2020 and $1 million in 2023 … we are the second-best golf tour in the world, and we will have purses that will align with that,” DeHuff said.
TPC Colorado Championship at Heron Lakes Director, Drew Blass, lauded the support the Berthoud and Northern Colorado community has given the tournament. For this week’s event, TPC Colorado was able to garner the support of over 700 volunteers who will assist in all aspects of executing the tournament; everything from helping director spectators to parking, working concessions, serving as spotters and course marshals, and each group all four days of the tournament will be accompanied by a volunteer standard-bearer, someone who will carry the names and scores to par of each member of the threesome, updated in real-time.
“We are very grateful to have the volunteers and the marshals specifically because the rough is tall this year, we need those 200 marshals out there,” DeHuff said. “An average Korn Ferry Tour event has 300 volunteers, having more than double, it provides that PGA Tour experience, it’s marshals on every hole, it’s standard-bearers so as you’re all watching you can see where the players are at relative to par, it enhances the experience that we get, it’s why we won best product in 2019, it’s a great experience for our fans, our sponsors and our players, it’s really an impressive feat.”
Said Blass, “We are providing a first-class experience and it’s thanks to all of you, all our volunteers and the entire community.” In the inaugural event in 2019, the tournament had 550 volunteers working, having more will only enhance the experience for all, tournament organizers said at TPC Media Day on June 15.
The tournament will be of the traditional four-day (Thursday-Sunday), 72-hole format that will include 156 players competing for a $600,000 purse, $108,000 of which will go to the event’s champion. After the opening 36 holes Thursday and Friday, the field will be cut down to the low 65 players, ties included, for the final two rounds over the weekend.
In the first two rounds, players will tee off simultaneously at No. 1 and No. 10 holes beginning at 7 a.m. and after the field is cut to the low 65 and ties, tee times for the weekend rounds will stretch from 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. A trophy presentation to the champion will occur early Sunday evening after all the players have completed their rounds.
The Korn Ferry Tour serves as the primary avenue of qualification for the PGA Tour and currently, three out of every four PGA Tour members are Korn Ferry Tour alumni. The Korn Ferry Tour boasts 23 major champions and eight PLAYERS champions and includes current PGA stars such as Bubba Watson, Justin Thomas, Jason Day, Tony Finau and Jason Dufner. Hubbard said the tour is “as competitive as it gets,” and outlined how, as opposed to the shorter Q-school route to the PGA Tour, it better prepares players for the lifestyle of being a professional golfer.
Officials are expecting large crowds of spectators to fill the viewing areas around the course. Primarily, spectators can watch five holes at one time – including TPC Colorado’s signature par-three 16th hole –from the area just behind (west) of the clubhouse area. There will be cooling stations, hospitality areas and other viewing points peppered throughout the course property. A town of Berthoud courtesy shuttle will be available to give spectators free rides around the course property.
Gates open at 6:30 a.m. during the Thursday through Sunday competitive rounds and the final round is expected to conclude around 6 p.m. Sunday, though weather delays and the potential for a playoff could cause changes to the schedule. Further information can be found at https://tpccoloradochampionship.com/.
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