Pro Golf Weekly

Primer: 2018 Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf

In an event that is certainly unlike any other in golf, and which is always one of the most entertaining points on the schedule, the Champions Tour heads to the heartland this week for the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf.

Credit: Big Cedar Lodge

Team play, differing formats and now two often-audacious par-3 courses — Gary Player’s new Mountain Top course with 13 holes joins the nine-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Top of the Rock course — turn this into an event that can be unpredictable, even on a moment-to-moment basis.

Last year’s winners, Carlos Franco and Vijay Singh, came from seven shots back on the final day to claim the title.

Here’s all the information you need to stay on top of this week’s Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf.


THE SKINNY

Tournament: Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf
Dates: April 19-22, 2018
Where: Big Cedar Lodge, Ridgedale, Mo.
Buffalo Ridge: Par 71, 6,963 yards (Tom Fazio)
Top of the Rock: Par 27, 1,404 yards (Jack Nicklaus)
Mountain Top: Par 39, 1,927 yards (Gary Player)
Format: 67-holes, multiple formats, no cut
Purse: $1,800,000
Winning Share: $348,750
Defending Champions: Carlos Franco/Vijay Singh
Marquee Teams: Franco/Singh, Steve Stricker/Jerry Kelly, David Toms/Steve Flesch, Billy Andrade/Joe Durant, Miguel Angel Jimenez/Jose Maria Olazabal, Corey Pavin/Duffy Waldorf, Paul Goydos/Kevin Sutherland, Olin Browne/Steve Pate, Davis Love III/Scott Verplank, John Daly/Michael Allen, Andy North/Tom Watson, Tom Lehman/Bernhard Langer


TV AND ONLINE

Fri: 12:30-3:00 pm (GOLF)
Sat: 3-6:00 pm (GOLF)
Sun: 3-6:00 pm (GOLF)
Web | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Wikipedia


HISTORY

This year will be the 41st playing of this event, originally known as the Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf, and the fifth year the event will be played in the state of Missouri under the Bass Pro Shops banner. This tournament is also the second oldest in senior golf, with only the 78-year-old Senior PGA Championship exceeding it in longevity.

Credit: Getty Images/Bettman

The first Legends of Golf event was contested at Onion Creek Country Club in Austin, TX, in 1978, with Sam Snead and Gardner Dickinson teaming up to finish one-shot ahead of Peter Thompson/Kel Nagle in the better-ball format.

This event is credited with helping spawn what is now known as PGA Tour Champions.

Its $400,000 purse in 1978 was the largest in professional golf at the time. In the 1979 Legends event, people started talking when Art Wall and Tommy Bolt made five birdies in a playoff only to be matched by five birdies from the team of Julius Boros and Roberto De Vicenzo. Boros and De Vicenzo finally prevailed that year by making birdie on the sixth extra hole.

The Legends Division remained an unofficial team event through 2001 except for 1993 when it was contested as a stroke-play tournament. However, in 2002, the Legends Division became an official stroke-play tournament and was played under that format through 2007.

In 2008, the Legends Division reverted to a team, better-ball format but with official money for the first time. The tournament added a Legendary Division in 1987 for players over the age of 60.

Credit: Getty Images/Ryan Young

Big Cedar Lodge is the sixth home of the tournament. It was played in Austin, Texas, from 1978-94 (Onion Creek Country Club and Barton Creek Country Club) before a three-year run in La Quinta, Calif., from 1995-97.

After a year at the Golf Club of Amelia Island (1998) in Amelia Island, Fla., it moved to St. Augustine, Fla., in 1999 and was played at both courses at the World Golf Village through 2002 before relocating to Savannah in 2003. The Club at Savannah Harbor was the venue from 2003-2013.

TOURNAMENT NAMES

2013-18: Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf
1988-12: Liberty Mutual Insurance Legends of Golf

RECENT WINNERS

2017: Carlos Franco/Vijay Singh
2016: Michael Allen/Woody Austin
2015: Billy Andrade/Joe Durant
2014: Fred Funk/Jeff Sluman
2013: Brad Faxon/Jeff Sluman
2012: Michael Allen/David Frost
2011: Mark McNulty/David Eger


THE THREE COURSES

1. BUFFALO RIDGE

Credit: Big Cedar Lodge

Designed in 1999, Branson Creek Golf Club was already an award-winning golf course before new owner Johnny Morris hired its original designer, Tom Fazio, to help him reimagine the course with improved sight lines and enhanced aesthetics, including water, bunkers, and greens.

  • Buffalo Ridge Springs Course is an 18-Hole, Par 71 public golf course.
  • The golf course measures 7,036 yards from the back tees to 5,032 yards from the forward tees.
  • Fairways are a rich Zoysia grass while greens consist of lush Bentgrass. First cut rough is Bermuda while second cut is made up of Fescue.

2. TOP OF THE ROCK

Credit: Big Cedar Lodge

Located high above beautiful Table Rock Lake, the course is one a kind Jack Nicklaus design that blends pro-style tee boxes and signature greens with natural water elements including waterfalls, creeks, and bass-filled ponds.

  • Top of the Rock is a 9-Hole, Par 27 public golf course.
  • The golf course ranges from 1,420 yards from the back tees to 945 yards from the forward tees.
  • Tees and greens are lush Bent grass surrounded by Bluegrass roughs.
  • The first-ever Par-3 course to be included in a PGA Tour championship.

3. MOUNTAIN TOP

Credit: Big Cedar Lodge

A brand new 13-hole golf course designed by Gary Player and Johnny Morris that takes advantage of all the surrounding natural beauty of the Ozarks.

  • Mountain Top is a 13-Hole, Par 39 public golf course.
  • The golf course will play to 1,927 yards.
  • Tees and greens are lush Bent grass surrounded by Bluegrass roughs.
  • A walking-only course that features multiple tee boxes per hole, allowing for various shot angles.

DEFENDING CHAMPIONS

Carlos Franco and Vijay Singh combined to shoot a course-record 12-under par in the final round at Top of the Rock and win the 2017 Bass Pro Shops Legends at Big Cedar Lodge.

Credit: Getty Images/Ryan Young

Starting the day seven-shots back of first round leaders Jeff Sluman and Fred Funk, Franco and Singh finished the (rain-shortened) 36-hole tournament at 15-under – one shot clear of three other teams at 14-under, including Sluman and Funk.

Corey Pavin and Duffy Waldorf, along with Paul Goydos and Kevin Sutherland, were the two other teams to finish at 14-under.

FINAL TOP 5

1 Carlos Franco/Vijay Singh -15 $232,500
2 Fred Funk/Jeff Sluman -14 $104,167
2 Paul Goydos/Kevin Sutherland -14 $104,167
2 Corey Pavin/Duffy Waldorf -14 $104,167
5 Olin Browne/Steve Pate -12 $51,667
5 Fred Couples/Jay Haas -12 $51,667
5 Mark O’Meara/Tom Jenkins -12 $51,6671


TOURNAMENT FORMAT

Credit: Getty Images/Ryan Young

THURSDAY ROUND 1

  • Course: Buffalo Ridge
  • Field: All 36 teams
  • Start Time: 9:00 am
  • Format: 18 holes, Best ball

FRIDAY ROUND 2

  • Course: Top of the Rock
  • Field: 18 teams (A)
  • Start Time: 9:00 am
  • Format: 18 holes, Alternate shot (front nine); Best ball (back nine)
  • Course: Mountain Top
  • Field: 18 teams (B)
  • Start Time: 9:00 am
  • Format: 13 holes, Best ball

SATURDAY ROUND 3

  • Course: Top of the Rock
  • Field: 18 teams (B)
  • Start Time: 12:00 pm
  • Format: 18 holes, Alternate shot (front nine); Best ball (back nine)
  • Course: Mountain Top
  • Field: 18 teams (A)
  • Start Time: 12:00 pm
  • Format: 13 holes, Best ball

SUNDAY FINALE

  • Course: Top of the Rock
  • Field: 36 teams
  • Start Time: 8:15 am
  • Format: 18 holes, Alternate shot (front nine); Best ball (back nine)
  • Course: Top of the Rock
  • Celebrity Skins Shootout: Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Lee Trevino, Johnny Miller, Larry Nelson, and David Graham will be joined by actor Mark Wahlberg, Kid Rock (defending champ!), Larry the Cable Guy, and Duck Dynasty’s Willie Robertson
  • Start Time: 9:30 am

THE FIELD

Because of the depth of the field, the somewhat less-formal nature of the competition and the unique setting, this is a great event for fans who want a chance to get close access to some of the greatest living names in golf.

Credit: Getty Images/Ryan Young

This year’s 36-team field includes 12 members of the World Golf Hall of Fame: Ben Crenshaw, Hale Irwin, Tom Kite, Bernhard Langer, Davis Love III, Sandy Lyle, Colin Montgomerie, Mark O’Meara, Jose Maria Olazabal, Vijay Singh, Tom Watson and Ian Woosnam.

Additionally, Sunday’s schedule includes a Celebrity Skins Shootout where Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Lee Trevino, Johnny Miller, Larry Nelson and David Graham will join celebrities Mark Wahlberg, Kid Rock, Larry the Cable Guy, and Willie Robertson.

In addition to those legends, each of the top 15 players in this year’s Charles Schwab Cup standings will compete as part of a team, including the winners of all seven Champions Tour tournaments this year: Jerry Kelly, Mark Calcavecchia, Joe Durant, Steve Stricker, Singh and Steve Flesch.

Predicting which teams will get hot at the right time is always a crapshoot, but among the pairings you would point to as being well-positioned for success are the defending champs Franco and Singh.

Credit: Getty Images/Darren Carroll

Also notable are Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly, who will be teaming up in an event for the 11th time since 2008 and who rank Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, in the Schwab Cup standings, and David Toms and Steve Flesch, with Flesch coming in hot off his victory at last week’s Mitsubishi Electric Classic.

PAIRINGS

  • Billy Andrade / Joe Durant
  • Paul Broadhurst / Kirk Triplett
  • Olin Browne / Steve Pate
  • Mark Calcavecchia / Woody Austin
  • Glen Day / Wayne Levi
  • John Daly / Michael Allen
  • Marco Dawson / Gene Sauers
  • Dan Forsman / Mike Reid
  • Carlos Franco / Vijay Singh
  • David Frost / Roger Chapman
  • Jerry Smith / Jeff Sluman
  • Paul Goydos / Kevin Sutherland
  • Jay Haas / Peter Jacobsen
  • Hale Irwin / Wes Short, Jr.
  • Lee Janzen / Rocco Mediate
  • Brandt Jobe / Scott McCarron
  • Miguel Angel Jiménez / José María Olazábal
  • Tom Kite / Gil Morgan
  • Davis Love III / Scott Verplank
  • Sandy Lyle / Ian Woosnam
  • Tom Lehman / Bernhard Langer
  • Larry Mize / Scott Parel
  • Andy North / Tom Watson
  • Mark O’Meara / Colin Montgomerie
  • Jerry Pate / Ben Crenshaw
  • Corey Pavin / Duffy Waldorf
  • Tom Pernice Jr. / Bob Tway
  • Jim Thorpe / Dana Quigley
  • Mark Brooks / John Huston
  • Brad Faxon / Joey Sindelar
  • Bruce Fleisher / Tom Jenkins
  • Steve Stricker / Jerry Kelly
  • Jeff Maggert / Jesper Parnevik
  • Bob Gilder / Craig Stadler
  • Russ Cochran / Kenny Perry
  • David Toms / Steve Flesch

Credits: PGA Tour Media, Getty Images


Carey Hoffman

Carey Hoffman is a Content Editor for Pro Golf Weekly. A former golf writer for the Cincinnati Enquirer, his love of golf for 40 years has only once been rewarded with a sub-80 round.

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