SAS Institute, the world's largest private software company,will sponsor the North Carolina event at Prestonwood County Club, which will be called The SAS Championship and have a purse of $1.6 million. The 54-hole event for golfers 50 and over will come one weekafter the Vantage Championship in Clemmons, just west ofWinston-Salem. The Home Depot Invitational was held in Charlotte inMay.
"Hopefully, it will be the first of many. I think this is a great golfing area and people will get behind it and come out to see it," says golfer Bob McKernie.
Sources say negotiations began about three months ago, when LiquidGolf.compulled out of the fall tournament in Georgia. SAS and Prestonwood tried to land a Senior Tour event severalyears ago, when the private club was host of the Buy.com Tour, butofficials picked Baltimore instead.
However, the Senior Tour revisited the possibility of SASsponsorship when the Georgia event went under.
"It's a big event because of the names on the Senior Tour right now; Trevino, Nicklaus and Palmer will all hopefully be here," says golfer Dan Harris.
The tournament's contract is for three years at Prestonwoodbefore it will move to the Tournament Players Club at WakefieldPlantation in north Raleigh in 2004. Prestonwood has three 18-hole courses. The Senior Tour event will be played on a combination of two of the courses and thelength could stretch to 7,112 yards.
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