Barracuda Championship rolls into Reno on Thursday; Ogilvy back to defend title
Where: Montreux Golf & Country Club in Reno
TV: Golf Channel (3:30-6:30 p.m. Thursday; 3:30-5:30 p.m. Friday and 3-6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Tickets: Season pass $55, daily admission $20
More info: www.barracudachampionship.com
RENO, Nev. — For a guy running a PGA tournament, Chris Hoff looked very relaxed and in good spirits.
And with good reason.
Hoff indicated that Barracuda being involved as the title sponsor was the big reason. The company, which became the title sponsor last year, is signed up through 2017.
“We’re excited about the tournament,” said Barracuda CEO and president B.J. Jenkins. “The first year was a feeling out process. This year we’ve jumped in with both feet. We’ve got hundreds of employees coming here this week. We are excited to be here. I love coming up here.”
Hoff said he is excited about this year’s field.
“It is always stressful from Wednesday through Friday of the week before,” he said. “Players traditionally plan their travel so late.
“We’re excited about having Geoff Ogilvy back. Retief (Goosen) played here for the first time and he said he had a great time. Ollie Schniederjans finished 12th at The Open, and then turned pro the next week, and he made the cut at both the Canadian Open and Quicken Loans.”
Ogilvy scored 49 points last year to outlast Justin Hicks in the Stableford scoring system format. The win in Reno catapulted Ogilvy all the way to the Tour Championship final.
The one player Hoff couldn’t reel in was Tiger Woods, who opted instead to go home and get ready for the PGA Championship. Woods put together three good rounds at the Quicken Loans National, but a third-round 74 put him out of contention.
“We are on their radar,” Hoff said. “We let it be known that we would love to have him here. We knew it would be a longshot. The great thing is that he knew all about us. We were able to get in front of him. It just didn’t work out.”
It is the first time in the history of the event that Tiger has been ranked low enough to play in Reno. In past years he’s either been at Firestone or injured and unable to play.
Hoff indicated that he travels to three to four PGA events a year to get the word out about the Barracuda Championship, and obviously do a little recruiting. He said he went to tournaments in Memphis, Dallas, Napa (Frys.com) and Las Vegas this year.
While Barracuda is signed up through 2017, one never knows if Montreux will still be the site. Hoff indicated that the members take over the golf course in January 2016, and that means another vote to see if members and residents want to continue hosting the event.
Hoff indicated that he and other people associated with the event will be talking to membership in the coming months. Hoff feels that Montreux members want the tournament to continue despite the fact that it was a pretty close vote the last time around.
The biggest complaint from the membership besides the fact that the golf course can’t be used for two weeks is the amount of traffic and noise level created by the tournament and its fans.
OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
The top 125 players qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs, and there are four names out there who need a good finish to get into the post-season dance.
Luke Guthrie sits at 139, and the third-year pro has made the playoffs the previous two seasons. A step back is rookie Sam Saunders, the grandson of the legendary Arnold Palmer. Sitting at 144 is defending Barracuda champ Geoff Ogilvy, who has never missed the playoffs. At 152 is David Toms, who has finished outside 125 just once in his career (1994).
DID YOU KNOW
Seven major championship winners are in the field — Ben Curtis (2003 Open), John Daly (1991 PGA and 1995 Open), Trevor Immelman (2008 Masters), Geoff Ogilvy (2006 U.S. Open), David Toms (2001 PGA) , Retief Goosen (2009 U.S. Open) and David Duval (2001 Open) … There have been three playoffs in Barracuda history, 2000, 2002 and 2004 … The 54-hole leader of the event has gone on to victory 10 times in the previous 15 tournaments… Seven players won their first title here in Reno — Notah Begay III (1999), Chris Riley (2002), Vaughn Taylor (2004), Will MacKenzie (2006), Parker McLachlan (2008), Matt Bettencourt (2009) and Scott Piercy (2011).