The eyes of the college golf world now shift from the Blessings Golf Club, home to the 2019 NCAA women’s and men’s golf national championships, to Grayhawk, located 1,159 miles west.
Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., has 36 holes, 18 of them on the tournament-ready Raptor course. The Raptor is No. 17 on the Golfweek Best Courses You Can Play in Arizona 2019 list, and will serve as host site for not just the 2020 national championships but the two after that as well.
It’s the first time the NCAA has committed the golf championships to the same venue for consecutive years.
Some are already dubbing it the Road to Scottsdale because, who knows? Perhaps the Grayhawk will become the permanent site for the NCAAs, and the Road to Scottsdale will become synonymous with the Roads to Omaha (baseball) and Oklahoma City (softball). But that’s a discussion for a later date.
For now, Grayhawk and ASU are gearing up for 2020.
“We are fortunate to live in one of the most prestigious golf destinations in the country, so what better place to host the NCAA Golf Championships than Scottsdale, Arizona, which annually hosts one of the largest tournaments on the PGA tour,” said Vice President for Sun Devil Athletics Ray Anderson. “We are thrilled for the opportunity to host the nation’s elite in our own backyard for three consecutive years, and we intend to illustrate why Arizona is the perfect place for the NCAA Golf Championships.”
Raptor course is ready-made for the NCAAs
The Raptor course at Grayhawk, which first opened in 1994, may not be the beast that The Blessings in Arkansas is, but it’s a fitting choice to host the NCAAs, as it’s a course with a long history of hosting tournaments.
- The PGA Tour’s Frys.com Open was held there for three years and the 2009 event featured an up-and-coming just-turned-pro Rickie Fowler, who had a hole in one and the Sunday lead before losing in a playoff.
- The Andersen Consulting World Championship of Golf, the predecessor to the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, held its finals there for three years in the late ’90s.
- Tiger Woods had his first foundation event there in 2000, with Tom Lehman beating David Duval, Woods and nine others in what was called the Williams World Challenge.
- The Thunderbird International Junior, one the premier junior events in the country, has been there since 2000 and returned again May 24-27.
- The course has also hosted pro-ams for the Waste Management Phoenix Open and the Tommy Bahama Challenge. It’s also home to Phil’s Grill, which hosted a party for Phil Mickelson in 2004 after he won his first Masters Tournament.
“We are obviously honored to be chosen as the new venue for this prestigious championship,” said Gregg Tryhus, Managing Partner of Grayhawk Golf Club. “Grayhawk has a tradition of hosting competitive tournaments at the highest level. We look forward to holding the NCAA Golf Championship.”
Grayhawk is about three miles north of TPC Scottsdale, home to the Waste Management Phoenix Open, the most highly attended golf tournament on the PGA Tour, so the area is certainly primed for sunshine, golf, and fans.
Will history repeat?
ASU was one of ten colleges with a women’s and men’s team in this year’s national championships.
ASU is also the only program in collegiate history to win the men’s and women’s team titles in the same season, accomplished in 1990.
“To have the NCAA Championships in the Valley of the Sun is an incredible addition to our community,” said ASU women’s coach Missy Farr-Kaye, who led the Sun Devils to the program’s ninth NCAA title in 2017. “We have the people, the course and the golf knowledge to stage three incredible years of championships. As a former player who won a title, I can tell you there will be no better experience than a Phoenix crowd watching and encouraging all the teams.”
“The commitment it takes in vision, resources, and time to host six NCAA Championships is massive and I can’t thank Grayhawk and Ray Anderson enough for being willing to host it,” said ASU men’s coach Matt Thurmond. “This shows the incredible support for our golf programs by our athletics department and this community. Our state takes incredible pride in its golf history and tradition and this will be an amazing addition to the local sports calendar.”