The vice president of operations for the NGA Tour calls Savannah Lakes Village “like a second home.”
“It’s like the NGA of the West,” said Waters, whose pro golf development tour is headquartered in Myrtle Beach. “It would be great if we could play all 18 events (on the tour) here.”
Waters and the local SLV Classic golf committee are preparing for this year’s SLV event, which is April 29-May 4. Tournament play is May 1-4 at the Monticello Golf Course.
“Monticello and Savannah Lakes are always dear to me,” said Waters, who played in a Pro-Am with his brother here in SLV 12 years ago. Waters has been with the tour since 2002 and has been VP of operations and NGA media director since 2012.
Tuesday was media day, where NGA officials and local tournament committee members staged an official event to announce the 12th annual tournament.
Phil Kinzer, who handles SLV Classic communications, says the fans are who make this tournament special. “It’s a great venue for aspiring golfers, and it helps us showcase an area we are all proud of.”
Kirk Smith, CEO and general manager of SLV, thanked committee members for their current and past successes with the tournament. He reminded everyone in attendance that NGA members consider this event the “Masters of the NGA Tour.” NGA Tour players consistently vote the SLV Classic as their favorite stop on the tour.
“This is not just a golf tournament,” Smith said. “It’s a community event.”
Smith announced that the tournament would be giving back to the community through a couple of projects. One includes signage and a landscape project at U.S. 378 and S.C. 7 (near The Village Store). The second phase includes a landscaping plan that will include signage that says “Home of the SLV Classic.”
Smith also showed a 30-second commercial about the tournament that will appear on the SLV website and on News Channel 12.
NGA Tournament Director Terry Johnson has played in PGA Tournament events, has been a golf director, a club pro for 18 years and has seen many sides of the golf business.
“It’s a pleasure to be back in Savannah Lakes,” Johnson said. “Every time I come here I feel part of the family.” He said everything here just “clicks.”
He thanked the first responders, the sponsors and the community. “The way ya’ll get behind this event is amazing,” Johnson said.
August Luedecke in his final year as tournament chairman. He said he’s so proud how the community rallies around this event. “More people pull together than any time during the year.”
August said it’s been a labor of love for him, and that he’s never seen such hard-working people.
Floyd Thomas will assume the role as tournament director next year.
The NGA Tour (formerly known as the Hooters Pro Golf Tour) is the No. 1 men’s professional golf developmental tour in the United States. Unlike the PGA Tour and Web.com Tour, for which funds are provided by sponsors, the bulk of the NGA prize money is paid out of player entry fees. This year, player practice rounds are Monday, April 28 – Wednesday, April 30. There’s also a Junior Clinic on the 28th for local students, and a fishing contest for NGA Players. On the 29th, there’s a qualifier event, shootout and volunteer dinner. On the 30th, there’s a putting contest and Pro-Am.
Tournament play begins each day (May 1-4) at 7:30 a.m.
Former NGA Tour players who have gone on to win major championships at golf’s highest level include: Bubba Watson (Masters), Keegan Bradley (PGA Championship), Stewart Cink (British Open), Lucas Glover (U.S. Open), Ben Curtis (British Open), John Daly (PGA, British Open), Jim Furyk (U.S. Open), Lee Janzen (two U.S. Opens), Tom Lehman (British Open), Shaun Micheel (PGA), David Toms (PGA), and Zach Johnson (Masters).
Twenty-one other NGA Tour alums have won at least one event on the PGA Tour.
http://www.NGATour.com for more information on the tour.