The Web.com Tour, in conjunction with The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and bd Global, LLC, today announced two new events in The Bahamas for its 2017 season. The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic will be contested at Sandals Emerald Bay the week of January 5-11, while The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic will be held at The Abaco Club the week of January 19-25. Each will feature a 132-player field and $600,000 purse, with the winner receiving a $108,000 first-place prize.
The two events will include tournament rounds contested Sunday through Wednesday—a new schedule for 2017 Web.com events—with all rounds broadcast live on Golf Channel. The unprecedented television format will allow for the conclusion of the event prior to the start of that week’s PGA TOUR stop.
The Abaco Club, which will serve as host venue for The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic, is owned and managed by U.S.-based Southworth Development. Southworth, a leader in the creation of residential resort and hospitality-branded real estate communities and clubs, manages properties in the United States, the United Kingdom and The Bahamas.
The Club, with 2.5 miles of pristine private beach, luxurious island homes and myriad amenities, attracts homeowners, members and guests from around the world. The island club and residency of European Ryder Cup team captain Darren Clarke, it features one of the top courses in The Bahamas and will be one of the premier venues on the Web.com Tour schedule. Its Scottish links-style course plays along both scenic Winding Bay and The Atlantic Ocean and stretches out to 7,111 yards.
“All of us at Southworth Development, along with the residents, members and staff of The Abaco Club, are thrilled to be hosting this exciting new event—The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic,” said David Southworth, Founder and CEO of Southworth Development. “We’re certain that the Web.com Tour players are going to enjoy the many challenges presented by this unique, Scottish-style tropical links course—just as spectators and viewers on Golf Channel are going to love watching these great players compete on it. There’s really nothing else like this course in the world of golf, just as there’s no place in the world quite like The Abaco Club. The first-annual Bahamas Great Abaco Classic is going to be a special event in every way, and we can’t wait for the first tee shot to be struck.”
The Bahamas is now host to four professional golf tournaments on the game’s upper tier, including the TOUR-sanctioned Hero World Challenge, The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic (2017’s season-opening Web.com event) and the LPGA’s Pure Silk Bahamas Classic (contested the week after The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic), which is more than all but three states in the U.S. – California, Texas and Florida.
“We are excited to announce these two season-opening events in The Bahamas,” said Web.com Tour C.O.O & Senior Vice President Dan Glod. “Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe was instrumental in allowing us to bring the tournaments to life, and I’m confident that the groundbreaking nature of the tournament structure, coupled with the scenic beauty of the Out Islands, will make for a fantastic television product for our fans.”
bd Global, LLC, a representation, event management and public relations firm, will serve as the host organization for both events. The company, founded by owner Brooks Downing in 2012, is an international leader in event management, with over two decades of experience in the celebrity golf, college basketball tournament and major football bowl game arenas. bd Global has served as the catalyst for both new events, working closely with Bahamas Tourism to bring the Web.com Tour to the Bahamas.
“Bahamas Tourism Minister Wilchcombe challenged us with his vision to showcase the “Out Islands” through sports,” Downing said. “We are very excited to bring PGA TOUR golf to the Bahamas which will serve to drive economic activity to both islands, provide a strong television platform for future travel and help the Minister continue to brand the entire Bahamas as a global golf destination.”
The event will kick off the Web.com Tour’s 28th season. Twenty-five PGA TOUR cards will be awarded at the conclusion of the Regular Season, with an additional 25 awarded at the season-ending, four-event Web.com Tour Finals. The Web.com Tour is the path to the PGA TOUR, with 448 victories coming from former Tour players – including 22 major championships.