A Senior PGA Tour event in the Baltimore area became a reality yesterday with the announcement that State Farm Insurance Co. would be the title sponsor for a full-field event.
The first State Farm Senior Classic will be held July 3 through 5 at Hobbit's Glen Golf Club in Columbia. The 54-hole tournament, to be televised by ESPN, will carry a purse of $1.25 million.
The FORE Baltimore Foundation, founded two years ago to raise money for local charities through golf tournaments, is a co-sponsor with the Senior PGA Tour and will have the Maryland Special Olympics as the primary charity.
"The key to our events is having a community-based charity, and the tournament directors were foresighted enough to know this," said Tim Crosby, vice president of tournament business affairs for the Senior tour. "We are delighted to be associated with the charity, because we believe golf is ideal for Special Olympics athletes as a continuing sport."
Also, the involvement with the Toyota Senior Pro-Am by FORE and EMCEE Sports -- the Columbia-based marketing firm -- was an advantage.
"The players came back and said these people [headed by John Mathews, executive tournament director] knew how to run a tournament, and that, along with the local charity and State Farm, a company national in scope with a significant presence in the area, combined to get the job done," Crosby said.
Hobbit's Glen, a par-72 course off Route 108 in Columbia, will play about 6,900 yards. The only change from the current layout will be that holes across Harpers Farm Road (Nos. 6-7-8) will play as Nos. 2-3-4.
Cattail Creek in western Howard County held the Toyota Senior Pro-Ams the past two years, but Hobbit's Glen was judged more fitting for a Senior Tour event.
Hobbit's Glen provides better spectator flow, good viewing areas, room for hospitality tents and a television production unit, and nearby hotels and restaurants.
Daily attendance on tournament days (practice rounds and two pro-am days will precede the main event) will be limited to 25,000, and ticket packages are available, scaled from $25 to $150. Tournament information is available from EMCEE Sports in Columbia at (410) 992-5500.
1998 Senior schedule
Jan.: 12-18 -- MasterCard Championship at Hualalai, Hawaii; 24-25 -- Senior Skins Game at Mauna Lani, Hawaii; 26-1 -- Royal Caribbean Classic at Key Biscayne, Fla.
Feb.: 2-8 -- LG Championship at Naples, Fla.; 9-15 -- GTE Classic at Tampa, Fla.; 16-22 -- American Express Invitational at Sarasota, Fla.
March: 9-15 -- Toshiba Senior Classic at Newport Beach, Calif.; 16-22 -- Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf at Amelia Island, Fla.; 23-29 -- Southwestern Bell Dominion at San Antonio, Texas; 30-5 -- The Tradition at Scottsdale, Ariz.
April: 13-19 -- PGA Seniors Championship at Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.; 20-26 -- Las Vegas Senior Classic at Las Vegas; 27-3 -- Bruno's Memorial Classic at Birmingham, Ala.
May: 4-10 -- The Home Depot Invitational at Charlotte, N.C.; 11-17 -- Saint Luke's Classic at Kansas City, Mo.; 18-24 -- Bell Atlantic Classic at Philadelphia; 25-31 -- Pittsburgh Senior Classic at Pittsburgh
June: 1-7 -- Nationwide Championship at Atlanta; 8-14 -- BellSouth Senior Classic at Nashville, Tenn.; 15-21 -- AT&T; Canda Senior Open at Calgary, Alberta; 22-28 -- Cadillac NFL Golf Classic at Clifton, N.J.; 29-July 5 -- State Farm Classic at Columbia
July: 6-12 -- Ford Senior Players Championship at Dearborn, Mich.; 13-19 -- Ameritech Senior Open at Chicago, Ill.; 20-26 -- U.S. Senior Open at Pacific Palisades, Calif.; 27-2 -- Franklin Quest Championship at Park City, Utah
Aug.: 3-9 -- Burnet Senior Classic at Minneapolis; 10-16 -- First of America Classic at Grand Rapids, Mich.; 17-23 -- Northville Long Island Classic at Long Island, N.Y.; 24-30 -- BankBoston Classic at Boston; 31-6 -- Emerald Coast Classic at Pensacola, Fla.
Sept.: 7-13 -- Comfort Classic at Indianapolis; 14-20 -- Kroger Senior Classic at Cincinnati, Ohio; 21-27 -- Boone Valley Classic at St. Louis, Mo.; 28-4 -- Vantage Championship at Winston-Salem, N.C.
Oct.: 5-11 -- The Transamerica at Napa, Calif; 12-18 -- Raley's Gold Rush Classic at Sacramento, Calif.; 19-25 -- Hyatt Regency Maui Kaanapali Classic at Maui, Hawaii; 26-1 -- Ralphs Senior Classic at Los Angeles.
Nov.: 2-8 -- Energizer Senior Tour Championship at Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Pub Date: 12/04/97