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Champions tourney returning to Savannah
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SAVANNAH — The Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf is returning to its historic roots and reverting back to a team event for the first time since 2002, Executive Director Tim Iley announced Dec. 2.
Played as an individual stroke-play event during the past six years, the format for the Legends Division for players ages 50 and older will be a two-man team better ball event, as it was from 1978-2001, but for the first time, will count for official prize money and as an official win for each team member.
First played in 1978, the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf sparked the creation of the Champions Tour, formerly known as the Senior PGA Tour that was launched in 1980.
The Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf, which has called the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa in Savannah home since 2003, will celebrate its 31st anniversary April 21-27. Liberty Mutual will celebrate 29 years as title sponsor in 2008.
“As title sponsor for nearly 30 years we are delighted to see the tournament return to team format with the added impact of official money, official victory status. It will play great for the fans, our customers, TV viewers and most importantly, continue to benefit the Savannah area charities for a sixth consecutive year,” said Steve Sullivan, SVP of Communications for Liberty Mutual Group.
The tournament is actually three events in one. The aforementioned Legends Division, a 54-hole, two-man better-ball competition for ages 50 plus will be played Friday through Sunday. The Raphael Division, a 36-hole, two-man better-ball competition for ages 50 plus will be conducted Friday - Saturday of tournament week and will remain an unofficial competition.
The Demaret Division will be played Monday and Tuesday of tournament week and is also a 36-hole, two-man better-ball competition for ages 70 and older.
“Both the players and Liberty Mutual shared the same goal to make this historic tournament even better by implementing this format change for the Legends Division,” said Champions Tour President Rick George, “I applaud their efforts and common vision.”
“Returning to the original format in the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf can only help our Champions Tour and give our fans a great experience,” said World Golf Hall of Fame Member Tom Watson, who along with partner Andy North has won the Raphael Division team title the past two years.
The total purse for the April event will be $3.4 million overall; $2.6 million official prize money for the Legends Division, and an $800,000 unofficial purse will be split between the Raphael and Demaret Divisions The 2008 Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf will be broadcast on the GOLF CHANNEL Friday April 25 and CBS Saturday and Sunday April 26-27.
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