Thursday, July 6, 2006
Flood damage causes B.C. Open to move
VERONA, N.Y. -- Flooding along New York's Southern Tier
forced PGA officials Thursday to change the venue for the final
B.C. Open to Turning Stone Resort's Atunyote Golf Club.
The move about 90 miles northeast from En-Joie Golf Club in
Endicott, N.Y. was driven by widespread flooding last week along
the Susquehanna River. The river runs alongside the public course,
which had hosted the tournament since it began in 1971.
"It's kind of a bittersweet day," Henry Hughes, chief of
operations for the PGA Tour, said at a news conference on the grass
beside Atunyote's clubhouse. "It was a hard decision, but it was
easy to make because we had about 20 feet of water on the golf
course [last week]."
The $3 million tournament, which will be played July 17-23, will
be called the B.C. Open presented by Turning Stone Resort and will
have a field of 132 players. All ticket sales to date will be
honored, Hughes said.
"We were approached by PGA to offer our resources, facilities
and assistance to continue this fine tournament," said Ray
Halbritter, the federally recognized leader of the Oneida Nation,
which owns the resort. "We're glad to assist, and it really needs
the public's support."
All proceeds generated by the tournament will be returned to
Broome County Community Charities Inc., the sponsoring organization
of the event since 1974. Overall, more than $8 million has been
raised for charity by the B.C. Open.
Hughes said the PGA staff looked at several golf courses near
En-Joie, but none were in shape to host the event.
"The entire area down there has been devastated, so we felt we
had to go a little further out," Hughes, said. "They have
welcomed us, and we are thrilled."
Named after the cartoon strip, the B.C. Open has been a PGA Tour
stop since 1972. But it struggled financially in one of the
smallest markets on tour and never had a corporate sponsor. It is
being eliminated from the PGA Tour, a victim of the major
modifications to the tour schedule beginning next year.