Tiger Woods announced plans to design an 18-hole golf course named after the late Payne Stewart in Branson, Missouri. When complete, ‘Payne’s Valley’ will become part of the fast-growing Big Cedar Lodge golf properties, owned by Bass Pro Shops Founder and CEO Johnny Morris.
Stewart, who died in a freak plane crash in 1999, was a Missouri native who won 11 PGA Tour events, including three majors. Woods made the announcement at a press conference with Morris as part of pre-tournament festivities at the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf tournament.
Woods said he was attracted to the project because of his friendship with both Morris and Stewart.
“I’ve traveled all around the world and played all around the world, but when it comes down to it, it’s about working with the people you want to work with,” he said. “Johnny and I go way back. I like spending time around people I like spending time with.”
It will be the first public course design for Woods’ design firm, TGR Design, who will also design a par-3 course at the nearby Big Cedar Lodge.
“I couldn’t be more proud to partner with Johnny Morris to debut my first public-access courses at Big Cedar Lodge,” said Tiger Woods. “Johnny’s incredible passion for connecting people of all ages and walks of life to nature is truly inspiring. Together we’re tremendously excited to create a publicly accessible world-class golf experience in the center of America.”
Friendship Began Over Bass Fishing
The friendship between the noted conservationist and championship golfer began on the water 20 years ago.
“Shortly after Tiger won his first Masters Tournament in 1997, Tiger actually ended up buying one of our Bass Tracker fishing boats. My son and I had the opportunity to deliver his boat and spend the day bass fishing with him … you really get to know a person when you’re able to spend quiet time on the water fishing together. My boy and I were both very impressed by how down to earth and engaging Tiger was, and by how much he loved to fish,” said Johnny Morris.
“When we contemplated building another golf course at Big Cedar last year, my son John and I visited Tiger’s new Bluejack National course in Texas and we were both blown away! It is a truly breathtaking beautiful place very reminiscent of Augusta National. After spending more time with Tiger and his team, it became apparent to us that Tiger is extremely dedicated to applying his worldly knowledge of golf to develop great courses.
“His aim is to design and build only a select number of courses that are of extraordinarily high standards, with an emphasis on width and playabilitiy creating a fun and enjoyable experience for all. We quickly became excited about Tiger’s design philosophies and the three of us began to dream together about creating a world-class golf course in our stunning Ozark surroundings. We are very proud to align with Tiger to create an unforgettable golf experience that players of all abilities will be able to enjoy again and again.”
America’s Golf Destination
Payne’s Valley Course will be a fitting complement to the overall diverse golf, angling and shooting experience at Big Cedar Lodge, which is emerging as America’s next great golf destination. The new course will be located adjacent to a new 13-hole short course designed by golf legend Gary Player (opening in 2017) and Ozarks National, an 18-hole course designed by acclaimed architects Coore & Crenshaw (debuting in 2018).
The courses will join Big Cedar Lodge’s existing golf offerings, the nine-hole par-3 course designed by Jack Nicklaus, Top of the Rock, a 16-hole practice facility by the late Arnold Palmer, a 6,000-square-foot Tom Watson “Himalayan” putting complex, and the 18-hole championship course designed by Tom Fazio, Buffalo Ridge, hosts of the annual Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf.
Source: AP, Springfield News-Leader, TigerWoods.com