Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Greenwood Company Carries the Load and Helps Out Jackson

With more than eight months to go before the first ball is struck in Mississippi's lone PGA Tour event, tournament director Randy Watkins is predicting the tourney will draw its best field of golfers ever.

That's saying something for an event that last year drew the likes of gallery favorite John Daly and two-time Masters champion Bernhard Langer.The Viking Classic, named after its new title sponsor, Viking Range Corp., will be benefitting from changes in the pro golf tour as well as fortuitous timing, Watkins told the Greenwood Rotary Club Monday.This season, the PGA Tour is dividing into three segments. The first 33 weeks of the regular season will include a points competition, where the top finishers will qualify for a four-week playoff for the inaugural FedExCup. The season will conclude with the fall series, in which the Sept. 24-30 Viking Classic is the second event.

Viking takes over the title sponsorship from Southern Farm Bureau, for whom the tournament was named the previous eight years. (Commonwealth)