The Bahamas has bolstered its position as a golf destination with the announcement that it will host two new tournaments to commence the 2017 season of the Web.com Tour, the development series for the PGA Tour.
The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic will be contested at Sandals Emerald Bay Golf Course (pictured) 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. Both tournaments will feature 132-player fields and $600,000 (€545,000) purses, with the winner of each receiving a $108,000 first-place prize.
The two events, which will open the Web.com Tour’s 2017 season over a three-week stretch, will also provide a first with tournament rounds contested from Sunday to Wednesday, with all rounds broadcast live on pay-television broadcaster Golf Channel. The unprecedented television format will allow for the conclusion of each tournament prior to the start of that week’s PGA Tour event.
Including the PGA Tour-sanctioned Hero World Challenge and the Ladies Professional Golf Association’s Bahamas Classic, the Caribbean nation is now host to four professional golf tournaments on the sport’s upper tier, which is more than all but three states in the US – California, Texas and Florida.
Web.com Tour president Bill Calfee said: “(Bahamas) 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.”
Representation, event management and public relations firm bd Global will serve as the host organisation for both events. “Minister Wilchcombe challenged us with his vision to showcase their Out Islands through sports,” bd Global owner Brooks 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.”