The Web.com Tour returns to Georgia next year, with the Savannah Golf Championship scheduled to be played at the Landings Club March 28 – April 1.
Savannah will become the fifth Georgia city to host a Web.com event, joining Macon, Roswell, Athens and Valdosta. The state has not had a Web.com event since Valdosta lost its spot on the schedule after the tour played at Kinderlou Forest from 2007 to 2014.
Athens lost its tournament the previous year after a similar 8-year run at Jennings Mill and the UGA golf course.
Georgia was part of the original Ben Hogan Tour in 1990, with Macon’s River North (now Healy Point) holding an event until 1995. Roswell’s Settindown Creek was the site of the Nike Tour Championship in 1995 and ’96.
The tour has played under the name of five title sponsors since 1990, with Web.com serving in that role since June 2012.
This will be the first PGA Tour-affiliated tournament in Savannah since the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf left Savannah Harbor in 2013 after hosting one of the Champions Tour’s premier events for more than a decade (2003-13).
There are currently four PGA Tour tournaments within a few hours of Savannah, including the Masters, the Heritage Classic on nearby Hilton Head Island, S.C., the RSM Classic on St. Simons Island and the Players Championship in Jacksonville.
Next year’s inaugural Savannah Golf Championship will be played one week before the Masters and two weeks before both the Heritage and the Champions Tour event at TPC Sugarloaf in Duluth.
If the Web.com Tour plays a similar schedule in 2018 to the one it is playing this year, the tournament will be the second U.S. event following a long-running tour stop in Louisiana the week before. This year’s tour began with two events in the Bahamas, followed by tournaments in Colombia and Panama before making its way to the U.S. in late March.
The tournament in Louisiana was the only Web.com tournament in an 8-week span from mid-February through mid-April, and will help fill the gap in the tour’s s early-season schedule. The Savannah Golf Championship will have a purse of $550,000 and is scheduled to have a full field of 156 players.
The Landings, a 4,500-acre private community with more than 8,500 residents and six golf courses, has a contract with the Web.com Tour to host the event for five years. The Landings is located on Skidaway Island, about a 20-minute drive from historic downtown Savannah.
Deer Creek is the newest of the six courses at the Landings, opening in 1991. The first two courses were designed by Arnold Palmer in the 1970s, with three courses, the last two designed by Arthur Hills, opening in the 1980s. Deer Creek is a Tom Fazio design, with Fazio returning in 2009 to modernize the layout.
The Deer Creek course is listed at just under 7,100 yards and has a course rating of 75.1 and a slope of 143 from the championship tees. The most prominent event played at Deer Creek was the 2010 Georgia Amateur, with only three players bettering par of 288 for 72 holes.
Augusta’s Lee Knox won the first of his two Georgia Amateur titles at 5-under 283, one shot ahead of fellow Augustan Chase Parker, who shot 65 the final day. Parker, then a member of the golf team at Kentucky, is a 2017 member of the Web.com Tour, and is one of three current Web.com Tour players who competed in the 2010 Georgia Amateur at Deer Creek.
Also in the field that year were Anders Albertson and Seth Reeves, at the time teammates on the Georgia Tech golf team. All three are currently among the top 75 on the Web.com money list, which would earn them exempt status for next season.
They are among nine Georgians currently in the top 75, including former PGA Tour members Jonathan Byrd, Blake Adams, Casey Wittenberg and Scott Langley and recent UGA golfers Keith Mitchell and Sepp Straka.
There are no Savannah golfers currently on the Web.com Tour, but both Tim O’Neal and Mark Silvers have competed on the tour in recent years. The two most prominent pro golfers from Savannah are 2016 U.S. Senior Open champion Gene Sauers and PGA Tour member Brian Harman, who won the recent Wells Fargo Championship in North Carolina.