McCORMICK, S.C. — Ryan Waters said Tuesday’s event felt like a family reunion.
At a news conference for April’s Savannah Lakes Village Classic, Waters raved about the many familiar faces, the volunteers, who have made the tournament the premier event on the NGA Pro Golf Tour circuit for many years.
“We always talk about McCormick being our home,” said Waters, the vice president of operations for the NGA Pro Golf Tour. “It seems like that more and more every year.”
The Savannah Lakes Village Classic returns, April 26-29, for the 10th year at Monticello Golf Club. It is the longest-running tournament at one location on tour.
The reason for the event’s success? Hundreds of volunteers – between golfers and volunteers, the tournament has more than 500 people at the annual Tuesday night dinner during tournament week – and the leadership of former chairwoman Barb Shelley, who stepped down after last year’s event.
Now, August Luedecke takes over as chairman.
The Savannah Lakes Classic is considered one of four majors on the 18-tournament schedule, with a purse of $200,000 – $50,000 more than a regular event. This year’s champion will receive $28,000.
The Savannah Lakes Village Classic is in the middle of the NGA Tour’s three-tournament South Carolina swing, which begins April 19 with the Mountain Lakes Classic in Seneca, S.C. Golfers will then head about 80 miles south to McCormick and then move on to Mount Vintage Plantation & Golf Club for the Kandy Waters Memorial Classic, on May 3-6.
“The schedule as a whole, we’re trying to make it more convenient,” Waters said. “When we have the long distances, a lot of guys won’t travel. It’s easier for them to go home than travel six hours.”
While the field isn’t finalized, three players with Augusta ties are scheduled to play in the Savannah Lakes Village Classic: Augusta’s William Lanier, former Augusta State golfer Major Manning and former USC Aiken golfer Roberto Diaz. They will try to join a long line of winners in McCormick, including Phillip Pettit, who won a five-man playoff in last year’s Savannah Lakes Village Classic.