Sycamore Hills Golf Club, a nationally ranked Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course in Fort Wayne, Indiana, is the host venue for this week’s Hotel Fitness Championship Web.com Tour Finals. The event benefits the Evans Scholars Foundation and is being conducted by the Western Golf Association.
The Hotel Fitness Championship will be televised on the Golf Channel Thursday from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. ET. Friday’s second-round coverage is from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. ET. The Hotel Fitness Championship airs Saturday from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET, and Sunday from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET.
The Hotel Fitness Championship is the first of four Web.com Tour Finals events that will determine the second set of 25 players who will earn their cards for the upcoming 2014-2015 PGA Tour season under the Tour’s enhanced qualifying system. This week’s event will be composed of the top 75 players from the Web.com Tour money list, as well as the players who finished 126-200 on the PGA Tour FedExCup points list. The first 25 cards were secured Sunday at the Web.com Tour’s final Regular Season event, the WinCo Foods Portland Open in Oregon.
The three other Finals events are next week’s Chiquita Classic in Davidson, North Carolina, at River Run Country Club; the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship at the Jack Nicklaus-redesigned Scarlet Course at The Ohio State University Golf Club in Columbus; and the Web.com Tour Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, at TPC Sawgrass.
Defending champion and 2008 Masters winner Trevor Immelman is one of 55 PGA Tour professionals committed to play in this week’s event. Immelman finished No. 145 on the PGA Tour’s FedExCup points list.
“In my opinion, Sycamore Hills is one of the finest sites we’ve ever had the opportunity on which to design a golf course,” Jack Nicklaus said. “Sycamore Hills truly is a very, very fine site. It has gorgeous trees, great movement of property, and it had some existing lakes that really functioned quite well. The site had a little river moving through the property, which really afforded a lot of opportunities to create different shots. We had the opportunity to create a very diverse set of holes for Sycamore Hills.”
Awaiting Immelman and the other players in the field is a renovated layout that will only enhance Sycamore Hills’ already lofty reputation built over a 25-year period.
“The players who return this year are going to be blown away,” said Eric Schneider, the general manager at Sycamore Hills. “They may not be in the best humor because, after playing here last year, they’re going back to school, basically—and having to earn their PGA Tour card. But they’ll be blown away by what they see.”
Sycamore Hills eliminated 10 acres of fairway, taking landing areas that were more than 40 feet wide down to 22 to 28 feet wide, and put hazards where pros will have to contend with them more. A state-of-the-art drainage system was also put into the bunkers, under the guidance of Course Superintendent John Thompson.
“We have very high standards here at Sycamore Hills. [Nicklaus Design has] exceeded our expectations,” Schneider said. “For the people who will come out to experience the event, they’re going to go, ‘Wow, this is Fort Wayne, Indiana.’ This is absolutely beautiful for the eye, challenging for the best players in the world and will produce a great championship.”
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Sycamore Hills Golf Club has hosted several significant events since opening for play in 1989. In addition to serving as host of the Hotel Fitness Championship in 2013 and 2014, the course hosted the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship last year. Sycamore Hills has also hosted the Junior PGA Championship, the USGA Open and Amateur Qualifiers, the Indiana State Amateur, the Indiana State Senior Amateur, the Jack Nicklaus Cup Matches, the Indiana PGA Section Championship, the PGA Professional National Championship Qualifier, the Mid-West Collegiate Tournament, and the USGA Women’s State Team Championship.
Owned and operated by the PGA TOUR, the Web.Com Tour continues to identify those players who are ready to compete and win on golf’s biggest stage. Three out of four PGA Tour members are Web.com Tour alumni, and Tour alumni have won 388 PGA TOUR titles, including 19 majors.
“This event certainly is the cornerstone of what the vision is for the owners and the members,” Schneider added. “We feel a tremendous amount of pride.”
There are 130 players committed to play this week at Sycamore Hills (see legend below):
Note: Web.com Tour players Nos. 1-75 in bold. PGA TOUR players Nos. 126-200 are un-bolded. Those in italics are either non-members off the FedExCup points list or PGA TOUR players with medical exemptions as noted.