Legends of Golf to resurface, employ par-3

Jeff Sluman (left) reads a putt with an assist from Brad Faxon during the final round of the 2013 Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf, which they won.

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The Legends of Golf landed a big fish as its new title sponsor.

The tournament that spawned the Champions Tour again will make history as the first PGA Tour-sanctioned event to use a par-3 course in official competition when it is held June 6-8 at Big Cedar Lodge in Ridgedale, Mo.

The 36th rendition of the newly-named Big Cedar Lodge Legends of Golf will maintain the popular two-man, team competition and be conducted over 54 holes. It will be played on the resort’s Top of the Rock nine-hole par-3 course, designed by Jack Nicklaus, and the 18-hole Buffalo Ridge Springs Course (formerly known as Branson Creek), designed by Tom Fazio. All contestants will play Top of the Rock in the final round.

The field will feature two age divisions: 50-65 and 65 and older. Eligibility will be announced soon. Nicklaus is among a number of World Golf Hall of Fame members already have indicated that they will play in the event, including Hale Irwin, Gary Player, Lee Trevino and Tom Watson.

The total purse will be $2.75 million.

Tournament week will include a multi-sport pro-am day including shooting, archery and fishing. Additionally, a Legends fishing tournament will be held Tuesday of tournament week and include professional anglers, Champions Tour players and other sports celebrities. The resort and the golf courses are owned by Johnny Morris, the founder of Bass Pro Shops, which doubles as the tournament’s presenting sponsor.

"We believe the inclusion of this dramatic short course will demonstrate to a time-crunched world that par-3 golf is fun, entertaining and a worthy alternative for golfers," PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said in a statement.

"Top of the Rock offers a one-of-a-kind experience," Morris said in a statement. "More and more, people are becoming aware of all our beautiful Ozarks region has to offer, including world-class fishing, nature and golf."

The Legends of Golf had been dropped from the 2014 calendar when a sponsor to replace Liberty Mutual could not be found in time.

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