The PGA Tour is back on U.S. soil, pretty good field this week
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. -- The first snow of the year fell across the Midwest a couple weeks ago. The NFL and college football are deep into their seasons.
But on Wednesday at Sea Island Golf Club, the sun sparkled off St. Simons Sound behind a driving range that was packed with players from end to end -- so much so that Webb Simpson had to find a spot next to a pro-am participant.
"It's beautiful," the former U.S. Open champion said as he prepared for The McGladrey Classic. "I love playing golf tournaments that are near the beach.
"The golf course is awesome. It presents challenges and you have to think. There's a lot of reasons to come here."
Given a busy schedule with tournaments around the world, choosing where to play isn’t always easy. But tournament host Davis Love III also makes it difficult to say no to playing here.
Earlier in the week, he threw a huge pro-am party at his house. He’s also hosting a handful of players there for the week and the barn out back will even play host to a petting zoo.
"I hear there's a pig, so that's going to be pretty exciting," said Love, whose tournament is now in its fourth year. "There was a lot of work going on, a lot of sleepless nights from my team and my family."
There was also an increase in FedExCup points, from 300 to a full 500, and a significant increase in prize money. This year’s purse is $5.5 million, up from $4 million a year ago.
The impact on the community isn’t lost, either.
Love’s "Birdies for Love" program has raised more than $450,000 in the community and a Wiffle Ball game earlier in the week attracted a number of players, again all for a good cause.
"There's so much going on with our event that it just grows and grows every year," Love said. "Pretty much everything we've wanted to do (McGladrey) supported and helped us do it."