Originally created 11/07/97

Chateau Elan to host World Golf Championships event in 2001



BRASELTON, Ga. -- The Legends at Chateau Elan course near Atlanta, home of this week's Sarazen World Open, will host the World Stroke Play Championships in 2001, owner Don Panoz confirmed Thursday.

In addition, Panoz said he is confident he will be able to continue the $2 million Sarazen event, sponsored by Subaru through 1998.

"We signed an agreement to host the event in 2001," Panoz said during a news conference as he sat next to the 95-year-old Sarazen.

The World Stroke Play will have a field of 60-65 players that will come from the top 30 money winners on the PGA Tour, the top 20 from Europe, the top three from the Australasia Tour and the top two from the Southern African and Japan tours.

The field will be filled from top-50 players from the World Golf rankings not otherwise eligible.

"We're delighted to host the event," Panoz said. "It will be nice."

The first two stroke-play events will be held at Valderrama Golf Club in Spain in 1999 and 2000.

When the five international golf tours, including the U.S. PGA, announced details last week of three World Golf Championship events beginning in 1999 and a fourth in 2000, the future of the Sarazen was in doubt.

"We'll find a way," said Panoz. "We need a way to preserve the essence of a tradition like this."

The Sarazen tournament -- in its fourth year -- brings together the past two champions of all national opens in the world, currently 67.