SIKESTON -- The NGA/Hooters Pro Golf Tour will have a new title sponsor when it comes to Sikeston July 14-20 at the Bootheel Golf Club.
Health Facilities Rehab has taken control of the event, which will now be called the NGA/Hooters Health Facilities Rehab Outpatient Center Classic.
Charter Communications was originally slated to be the title sponsor, but ran into some financial problems. They dropped down to just a regular sponsor, opening a spot for Health Facilities.
"Brad and Don Bedell were gracious enough to step up to the plate and take this tournament over," said Bootheel Golf Club professional Jeff Ketterman. "It's important for the community to know they have stepped up to do this, because ultimately, the community is the benefit of this tournament. It will bring in anywhere from $150,000 to $200,000 to local merchants."
Festivities will start on Monday, July 14 with a junior program at 5:30 p.m. After that, there will be a players cocktail party and pairings party from 6:30 to 9 p.m.
During the day, there will be an open qualifier for 10 spots on the tournament. The professionals will also be able to practice all day on Monday.
The pros will also practice all day on Tuesday. At 10:30 a.m., the amateur contestants will register for the pro-am, which will start at 12:30 p.m.
After the pro-am, there will be a barbecue and awards ceremony at approximately 5:30 p.m.
Wednesday will be a rain day just in case bad weather hits on Monday or Tuesday. It will also be a third practice day for the professionals. On Wednesday night at 6 p.m., there will be a long drive contest.
"Anybody that wants to come out and get in it is welcome," said Ketterman. "If you want to compete against the pros, come on."
The first and second rounds of the tournament will take place on Thursday and Friday. The final two rounds will be played on Saturday and Sunday.
"I would like to emphasis that this tournament is free to the public," said Ketterman. "There will be a drawing for a free membership. Plus, just for registering, I will give you a free round of golf. We want people to come out and watch this thing."
The NGA Tour is the third largest men's professional golf tour in the United States. The tour currently boats over 60 of the top 100 mini tour players as ranked by Golf Weekly, including Zach Johnson and Ben Curtis.
Former tour players include two-time U.S. Open winner Lee Janzen, British Open and PGA Champion John Daly, British Open winner Tom Lehman, Jim Furyk, David Toms, Stewart Cink, Franklin Langham, Craig Perks and Chad Campbell.
In fact, Campbell's first tour victory came at Sikeston back in 1997. Campbell is currently ranked No. 9 on the PGA Tour 2003 Money Leaders list.
Twenty-two percent of the players that earned their 2002 PGA Tour Card, and 56 percent of the players that earned full exempt status on the Buy.com Tour started their careers on the NGA Tour.
"We are excited about this year's event," said Ketterman. "The tournament is almost filled up."