MYRTLE BEACH — Approximately 3,100 players are scheduled to tee off Monday in the opening round of the 29th annual Golf.com World Amateur Handicap Championship.
While that figure is not a significant increase from the past three years, it is the most players in the tournament since 2008.
“That’s a number we’re happy with considering everything that’s happening in the world,” said Chris King, communications director for marketing cooperative Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday, which operates the event. “There’s always room for growth, but I think that’s a pretty strong number. They’re coming from all over, too.”
Indeed. Players are from 49 states – only Idaho is not represented – and 24 countries. Many participants are making long commutes from countries including India, China, Japan, Australia, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Sweden, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, Italy, Germany, Austria, Portugal and Great Britain.
There are eight players from India and the event’s first contingent from China consists of nine players. Those countries have the world’s two largest populations, and organizers would like to expand their involvement.
“We are really excited about getting the Chinese golfers here, considering how fast golf is growing there,” tournament director Jeff Monday said. “The same with India, because the game is growing just as fast there as it is in China. That would give us hopefully more participants internationally. We love the number of countries; we just would like to have more players from those countries.”
There are 13 players who haven’t missed a year and will be playing in their 29th consecutive World Am.
Sixty Grand Strand courses will be used over the four tournament rounds Monday through Thursday, and the championship round for flight winners will be played Friday at the TPC of Myrtle Beach.
VPAR will provide championship round scoring. The service will be onsite at the TPC, updating each player’s score hole-by-hole on its site, with a link at www.worldamgolf.com, and will also have leaderboards posted in the TPC clubhouse for competitors and spectators.
Competitors will be fed full meals provided by different restaurants each night during the 19th Hole cocktail party from 6-9 Monday through Thursday at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center. The Tilted Kilt is slated to serve Monday night, Rioz Brazilian Steakhouse is Tuesday, Senor Frogs and Carlos’n Charlie’s are Wednesday, and Capriz Italian Feast is Thursday.
Additionally, Logan’s Roadhouse, Domino’s Pizza and Friendly’s ice cream will also be providing food each night during the week.
Michelob Ultra is the official beer of the 19th Hole and will be offering the Ultra 19th Hole, an alcoholic beverage featuring sweet tea and lemonade. Goslings Rum is the liquor sponsor, and its Dark ’n Stormy is the featured drink.
The 19th hole will also feature Demo Alley with several of golf’s major equipment manufacturers taking part, 36 exhibitors, which is up about 20 percent from 2011, and an Oxford Golf retail store.
Charlie Rymer and Mitch Laurance will share emcee duties, Sports Illustrated Golf Group writers will take part in a roundtable PGA Tour Confidential discussion Tuesday, comedian T.P. Mulrooney is performing Monday and comedian Henry Cho is performing Thursday.
Instructor Brad Redding will be providing tips on stage, GolfTEC representatives will be providing lesson on and off stage, and Myrtle Beach Golf Buzz host and model/golfer Blair O’Neal will take the stage and will be filming Golf Buzz episodes.
The nightly live music and entertainment is being moved from the ballroom to a new outside pavilion area in front of the convention center, which will open 15 minutes before the 19th Hole.
Contact ALAN BLONDIN at 626-0284.