Players Amateur moving to Berkeley Hall
Thursday, January 5, 2012
BLUFFTON, S.C. – The Players Amateur, which has been held at Belfair Plantation since the tournament’s inception in 2000, is switching courses. But only about three miles down the road in South Carolina’s Lowcountry.
The 2012 event, set for July 12-15, will be held at Berkeley Hall Club, also in Bluffton. The tournament will be played on Berkeley Hall’s South Course, which was designed by Tom Fazio and measures 7,160 yards from the championship tees.
“The biggest thing is it was a business decision,” Steve Wilmot, tournament director of the Heritage Classic Foundation, told The Island Packet newspaper. “The last 18 months or so, the Heritage Classic Foundation has had to take a look at itself and the things we do. It’s a business decision on many counts.
“We’ve always looked at the options we’ve had. It was a great run, a great experience out there (at Belfair). Wonderful facilities and people. . . . The timing was appropriate, and the executive committee unanimously decided to make the move.”
In addition to organizing the Players Amateur, the Heritage Classic Foundation runs the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage held at Harbour Town Golf Links on nearby Hilton Head Island. The foundation ran Hilton Head’s PGA Tour event last year without a title sponsor before securing in June a four-year commitment from Canadian-based bank RBC through 2016.
The Players Am was started 12 years ago by Bluffton residents and longtime amateur players Duke Delcher and Tom McKnight, both former members of the U.S. Walker Cup team. Delcher played on the American team in 1997, and McKnight was on the U.S. side in 1999.
More than 20 past Players Amateur competitors are now playing on the PGA Tour, including inaugural champion Ben Curtis, Lucas Glover, Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Camilo Villegas and Nick Watney. Clemson University player Corbin Mills won the 2011 title.