The PGA TOUR will soon take over Champions At Keene Trace Golf Club just outside of Lexington for the 2018 Barbasol Championship. The week-long event will begin Monday, July 16 with the players’ first practice and it will conclude on Sunday, July 22 with the trophy presentation to whoever played the best four days of golf.
Here are 10 things you should know as we approach the one-month mark on our Barbasol Championship countdown clock.
1. The Barbasol is Kentucky’s first regular PGA event since the late 1950s.
Not since the Kentucky Derby Classic at Seneca Golf Course has the Bluegrass been the host to one of the PGA TOUR’s regular golf tournaments. Louisville’s Valhalla Golf Club has seen its share of prestigious competition with signature events like the PGA Championship (1996, 2000, 2014), the Ryder Cup (2008) and the Senior PGA Championship (2004, 2011), but Kentucky hasn’t held an annual tournament since 1959.
2. It moved to Kentucky from Alabama.
The Barbasol Championship spent its first three years on the Grand National course of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Opelika, Alabama, but the PGA ultimately decided to leave for a new host site in 2018.
This will be the tournament’s fourth year since its inception in 2015.
3. It will be played opposite of The Open.
The Barbasol Championship is considered an “alternate event” as it will be played the same weekend as The Open at Carnoustie. This means you will not get to see the superstars of the PGA TOUR, but you will still see exceptional golf with 300 FedEx Cup points and a $3.5 million purse on the line.
Last year’s tournament featured seven major winners: Davis Love III, Jim Furyk, Retief Goosen, Lee Janzen, Angel Cabrera, Y.E. Yang and Shaun Micheel.
4. The golf course got a serious makeover.
To get the course ready for championship-level golf, the Keene Trace maintenance staff made some major changes, including flipping the two sides. In addition to switching up the nines, approximately 300 trees were removed to aid in grass growth; tee boxes were expanded; new tee boxes were added to four holes to add length; bunkers were repaired and re-sanded; and netting was added to the end of the driving range.
5. It will play at about 7,290 yards.
For those of you who have no idea if that is short or long, the PGA TOUR average is approximately 7,279 yards.
6. There is a woman in the field.
LPGA professional Brittany Lincicome accepted a sponsor exemption to play in the tournament, making her only the fifth female in history to compete in a PGA TOUR event. Lincicome is an eight-time LPGA winner and is currently ranked 16th on the money list this season.
7. Two UK golfers will begin their professional careers.
The University of Kentucky’s Cooper Musselman and Chip McDaniel accepted sponsor exemptions into the field and will be making their professional debuts. The two now-former Wildcats just finished their college careers with an appearance in the NCAA Championship, which was only the tenth in the program’s history.
McDaniel punched the Cats’ ticket to the championship by holing out from 118 yards on the 18th hole as he and his teammates overcame a 10-stroke deficit on the final day to earn a spot.
8. Spectators will have to park at Keeneland.
Spectator parking is at Keeneland for $10 per day with shuttles running to and from the course. There is no general parking at the course or in the surrounding areas.
9. You should volunteer.
For only a small $75 fee, you can become one of the many volunteers needed to assist the event. Volunteers will receive a Nike polo shirt, Nike hat, volunteer credential, parking pass, four grounds tickets, food and beverages, discounts on merchandise, and a complimentary round of golf at Keene Trace Golf Club. Each volunteer will be required to work three shifts (3-4 hours), but is it really work if you’re helping out at a PGA TOUR golf tournament? You can do your time and then watch golf the rest of the day. Get signed up here.
10. Tickets are available now.
Daily grounds passes, week-long grounds passes, and upgraded Man O’ War Paddock tickets are on sale at Ticketmaster.com. It’s going to be a fun time, so make sure you’re there to be a part of it.