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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Nationwide Tour to hold July $1 million event in West Virginia

Dec. 18, 2007

BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. -- The PGA TOUR’s Nationwide Tour announced today that the Tour’s West Virginia tournament has been designated to conduct the first Nationwide Tour Players Cup beginning in 2008.

The Nationwide Tour Players Cup will be a marquee event featuring a unique 144-player eligibility criteria and a $1 million purse.

The tournament will be held July 7-13 at Pete Dye Golf Club in Bridgeport, W. Va. and be the first regular season tournament on the Nationwide Tour to offer $1 million in prize money. GOLF CHANNEL will provide coverage of all four days of tournament play (July 10-13).

Four of the Tour's original events -- the Knoxville Open, Price Cutter Charity Championship, the Preferred Health Systems Wichita Open and the Albertsons Boise Open -- will return for the 19th consecutive year.

"We are delighted with the news that the Nationwide Tour will showcase West Virginia by hosting one of its two most prestigious golf events in our state," said West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin. "West Virginia and the Nationwide Tour have been excellent partners the past few years, and we’re honored that the PGA TOUR wants to make this partnership stronger. We have outstanding golf offerings in West Virginia, with some of the most beautiful courses in the world.

"We welcome the Nationwide Tour and we look forward to this opportunity to showcase all that West Virginia has to offer."

"There were three excellent reasons that led us to the final conclusion to designate West Virginia as host of the first Nationwide Tour Players Cup – the support of the state of West Virginia, a terrific venue in Pete Dye Golf Club and a perfect July date," said Nationwide Tour President Bill Calfee. "This marquee event will attract an international field and showcase West Virginia to the Golf Channel’s national and international audience that includes Japan, China, Korea, the United Kingdom and Latin America."

Nationwide Tour players will have the first 16 tournaments of 2008 to secure their position among the top 144 available on the Nationwide Tour money list and a spot in the Players Cup field. The cutoff will be the preceding event, the Ford Wayne Gretzky Classic in Canada (June 23-29).

A 36-hole cut will be made to the low-60 scores and ties after play on Friday, July 11. There will be no open qualifying or sponsor invitees.

Tournament officials entered into a four-year agreement that extends the Tour’s presence in West Virginia through 2011.Tournament proceeds will benefit charities throughout West Virginia.

"We are thrilled that the PGA TOUR has selected West Virginia to host this new and exciting event," said Executive Tournament Director Tim McNeely.

"It is certainly a credit to all of our sponsors, volunteers and fans that have made this event so special."

First prize will be a record $180,000 and the winner will, in all likelihood, earn his PGA TOUR card for 2009.

The forerunner of the Nationwide Tour Players Cup is the National Mining Association Pete Dye Classic, which has been on the Nationwide Tour schedule and held at the Pete Dye Golf Club since 2004. The first four West Virginia winners (2004-2007) were D.A. Points, Jason Gore, Jason Enloe and Jimmy Walker. All but Enloe have been members of the PGA TOUR.

Pete Dye Golf Club opened for play in 1995. Designed by its namesake, it plays to a par of 36-36-72 at 7,308 yards for the Nationwide Tour.

Last month, the Nationwide Tour announced the $1 million Nationwide Tour Championship at TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney, Texas (Nov. 3-9), the Tour’s season-ending event.

The largest purse prior to the West Virginia and Dallas announcements was this year’s $775,000 Nationwide Tour Championship at Barona Creek near San Diego, Calif. Its first prize was a then-record $139,500.


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