Barracuda Championship hits Montreux for 19th annual running
It’s fair to say this weekend is the summer of 2017’s grand finale. The final act.
Night in the Country (a popular country music festival in Yerington) wrapped up Saturday night. Country fan or not, there’s no denying the weekend is one of the marquee summer events in the region.
Nevada started fall football camp on Monday and the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association allows prep football teams to start ‘heat acclimation’ practices as soon as today. Football season is here. Almost.
And Washoe County School District students return to class on Monday. Reaction to the date ranges widely depending on where you fall in the parent/student spectrum.
But Northern Nevada is clinging to summer like a first-timer clasps to an innertube whipping around a corner on Pyramid Lake.
In one last summer hoorah, the PGA Tour makes its 19th annual stop in Reno this week. Barracuda Championship festivities began at Montreux Golf and Country Club on Monday with the tournament running Thursday-Sunday.
Greg Chalmers is back to defend his title after breaking through last year. It was his first PGA Tour start after going winless in his first 385 events.
“When Greg won, I got so many texts and calls from either other players, or agents, or just people in the industry saying, ‘you have no idea how great of a champion you have,’” said Barracuda Championship Tournament Director Chris Hoff while on the Nathan Shoup Show on ESPN Radio 94.5 FM last week. “At the end of the year, there was some kind of gathering of a bunch of people, and they were talking about the best stories of the year and Greg winning kept on coming up because he is such a great guy … He’s just down to earth, genuine.”
Once again, the tournament will be played the same weekend as the Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio. It’s one of four weekends in the entire PGA Tour season that doubles up and there’s no doubt a disparity between the two events. The Bridgestone Invitational – a World Championship event – has one of the largest purses for a non-Major tournament at $9.75 million. Only THE PLAYERS Championship ($10.5 million) is larger. The Barracuda Championship has a purse of $3.3 million.
Going head-to-head with such a significant event presents a couple obstacles. It dwindles the field and overall star power. The top 50 players in the world qualify for the Bridgestone. It limits TV viewership and thus sponsorship dollars. And it creates a potential feeling of less than.
Hoff said moving weekends is something that would be considered, while noting it isn’t nearly as simple as picking a more favorable date.
“It’s a very common question … There’s actually very little power we have over that,” he said. “We have a small window here in Reno when we can play and that’s … about early June to late August, early September. That part of the schedule is pretty jam-packed with some long-standing tournaments, major championships, things of that nature. The opportunity, currently, isn’t there. And there’s also some pretty significant economics that come with jumping up to your own date: purse, TV, other things.
“If one came available and the economics were there, we’d probably jump all over it. Where we are right now, I think, is a very good fit for us.”
Teeing off simultaneously with the Bridgestone is not new for the Barracuda Championship. The ribs will be. Open to all ticket holders, a new large patio built around the 18th green will be home to Gus’ Open Pit Barbecue from Incline Village as well as a bar and places to sit.
“It’s the first time we’ve done anything like it,” Hoff said. “I don’t know of many other tournaments that have taken, what is incredibly valuable real estate (for something like this).
“We’re combining really three things everybody loves: Great barbecue, great beers and fantastic golf.”
General admission tickets Thursday-Sunday start at $27.50 and can be purchased at barracudachampionship.com.