By JACK WEATHERLY
The Sanderson Farms Championship is on a roll.
The championship played at the Country Club of Jackson will have a new date this year, Sept. 19-22, thus avoiding conflict with the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions held in China.
That means the Sanderson tourney will be able to recruit top players who otherwise could be committed to the tournament in China.
The PGA Tour recently pulled the plug on a potential event on the same weekend in San Francisco that would have been hosted by Stephen Curry, the Golden State Warriors star, according to the Associated Press.
The San Francisco event did not have a director and there were concerns that work on the Lake Merced Golf Club might not be completed in time, AP reported.
With the avoidance of a scheduling conflict with the tourney in China, the Sanderson Farms Championship will offer 500 FedExCup points to the winner for the first time and will play a larger role in the season-long race for the FedEx Cup, according to a release from the tournament.
The tournament will also have a record purse, jumping from $4.4 million to $6.6 million, with $1.188 million going to the winner. Cameron Champ, the 2018 Sanderson Farms Championship winner, took home $774,000 and 300 FedExCup points.
The Sanderson Farms Championship will be the second event on the 2019-’20 PGA Tour schedule, one week after The Greenbrier Classic.
“We would like to thank Joe Sanderson and Sanderson Farms for their continued commitment to Mississippi’s PGA TOUR event,” Andy Pazder, PGA Tour chief competitions and tournaments officer, said in the release. “The partnership between the PGA Tour and the Sanderson Farms Championship is unique in that Joe Sanderson has been selfless with his intentions for the tournament and the State of Mississippi.”
Steve Jent, Sanderson Farms Championship executive director, said: “As Mississippi’s largest professional sporting event, we’ve made great strides over the last several years thanks to our partnership with Sanderson Farms and our move to The Country Club of Jackson.
“As a stand-alone event going forward, we look forward to giving our fans the best event in tournament history, with some new faces playing the event for the first time while continuing to make a significant charitable impact.”
The Sanderson Farms Championship has been an official PGA TOUR event since 1986 but has roots back to 1968.
Originally played at the Hattiesburg Country Club, the event moved in 1994 to Annandale Golf Club in Madison, which hosted it through 2013. It has had several name changes over the years, and lost its previous title sponsor, Greenwood-based Viking Range Corp., after the 2011 tournament. A conglomeration of companies sponsored the 2012 event, which was called the True South Classic.
Sanderson Farms signed on as title sponsor starting in 2013 and agreed to a 10-year extension through 2026 on Nov. 4, 2015, matching the longest title sponsor agreement of any sponsor on the PGA tour.
“It was simply the right time to contemplate the future and what kind of commitment we were going to make going forward,” said Joe Sanderson. “We believe that it is important, particularly for the charities and for Batson Children’s Hospital to know that we will be here for them, and for the Jackson metro area and the state of Mississippi to know that they can depend on us. We are excited to be a part of the new chapter in the tournament’s history.”
Since 1994, when Century Club Charities became the host organization, the tournament has raised $14.75 million dollars for Mississippi charities, and the economic impact on the Jackson metropolitan area now averages $26 million every year.
Last week, the Sanderson Farms Championship presented a $1.25 million gift to Friends of Children’s Hospital along with a second gift to Friends for $125,000 through other designated donations. In 2018 alone, Century Club’s total charitable impact for the state was $2,235,000.
The 2018 gift is earmarked for Friends contribution to the Campaign for Children’s of Mississippi, a philanthropic effort that is helping fund construction of a seven-story, 355,303-square-foot pediatric tower adjacent to Batson Children’s Hospital. Joe and Kathy Sanderson are the chairpersons of this $100 million-dollar campaign, of which $70 million has already been raised through their leadership.
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