Next year’s Cox Classic moves later into August at Champions Run — and into a more prominent position on the Web.com Tour.
Omaha’s Aug. 19-to-25 stop on the PGA Tour’s development tour will be the last tournament for the Web.com Tour before its new playoff series. Its purse also grows from $650,000 to a tournament-record $750,000.
The tour’s top 25 money winners for the season, counting the Classic results, will receive their 2014 PGA Tour eligibility cards on the 18th green following the final round at Champions Run on Aug. 25. Another 25 pros will get their cards through the playoffs, which start the following week.
“We’re excited about being the last event,” Cox Classic Tournament Director Chad Mardesen said. “There will be some good drama.”
Mardesen will officially announce the tournament changes Friday at the Cox Classic’s charity presentation. The 2012 tournament produced $189,255 in donations to a dozen local charities, pushing donations since 1996 past $2 million.
New dates were needed for the Cox Classic next year, which usually has been held in late July or early August, to accommodate the tour playoffs and to avoid being too close to the U.S. Senior Open at Omaha Country Club, which ends July 14.
Mardesen said the initial discussions with the tour were for a date in May.
“I don’t envy the tour,” he said. “Mostly, these dates were based on the availability of the schedule and of the course. This date aligns better for us because we’ll have longer to sell sponsorships and we get these additional elements.”
The elimination of Monday qualifying will be a change in the competitive aspect of the tournament. The qualifiers filled the final 14 spots in the field of 156 golfers with mini-tour players and amateurs with pro ambitions. Also gone will be the three spots reserved for club pros from the Nebraska Section of The PGA of America.
“The field will be decided 100 percent on the money list,” Mardesen said. “The top 156 on the money list will be here. It’s a pretty exciting element. There will be a lot of moving and shaking going on during the tournament. Mathematically, any one of those guys could play their way into the top 75 who go on to the playoffs, and most into the top 25 for their cards.”
He said Champions Run managing partner Bob Horgan has agreed to the date change, which is for 2013 only.
“Everything is pretty much on the table for 2014,” Mardesen said.
The aftermath of the Senior Open plays a role in the Cox Classic’s future, too. Mardesen said his tournament has been a strong booster of the United States Golf Association championship because of what the 1999 Senior Open did for pro golf in the Des Moines area.
“I think the Senior Open will kick-start a lot of interest in golf here and our plan is to ride that wave,” he said.
Senior Open selling four-day packages
Grounds-only tickets for the four days of tournament play of the 2013 U.S. Senior Open at Omaha Country Club have gone on sale.
The “Four-Pack,” one ticket for each of the championship rounds, is $150 and available at Baker’s Supermarkets or at www.2013ussenioropen.com. Kids 17 and under are admitted free with a ticketed adult.
Weekly ticket packages and trophy club tickets are sold out.
“Following the overwhelming response for tickets we wanted to find a way to allow for more spectators to enjoy this National Championship,” said Tim Flaherty, the USGA’s senior director for the Senior Open. “We took a good look at the golf course and we are confident that we can provide a quality experience for a limited number of additional spectators.”
Contact the writer:
402-444-1041, email@example.com; twitter.com/stuOWH