The Bridgestone Senior Players Championship has sold out 56 foursomes for its July 10 pro-am, prompting the PGA Tour Champions to approve a second event on July 8 at Firestone Country Club.

Firestone is hosting its first professional pro-am since the 1998 NEC World Series of Golf. There was no such event for the 2002 Senior PGA Championship, which was run by the PGA of America.

This is also the first year in 65 years that Akron will not host a PGA Tour event with the World Golf Championships event formerly known as the Bridgestone Invitational moving to Memphis, Tenn., and renamed the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.

The $2.8 million Champions Tour tournament runs July 11-14 on the famed South Course.

Support from title sponsor Bridgestone Corp. along with founding partners Westfield Insurance and FirstEnergy Corp. helped fill the allotted foursomes, at $25,000 plus tax, Bridgestone Senior Players tournament executive director Don Padgett III said Thursday.

Padgett said a handful of foursomes have already been sold for Monday’s pro-am at a slightly lower price point. Executive director of the Bridgestone Invitational/Bridgestone Senior Players since 2007, Padgett is not surprised by the demand.

“Not really. We’ve had great supporters for the tournament over the years,” Padgett said. “It’s a great opportunity to play with one of the PGA Tour Champions pros on the Firestone South course in tournament condition.”

Padgett remains optimistic about ticket sales and the availability of volunteers, despite Akron's loss of a PGA Tour event.

“The tournament has been really well supported; from a corporate standpoint we’ve had good support with ticket sales as well,” he said. “A lot of people, it’s just in their DNA to come to the golf tournament at Firestone in the summertime. We’re confident that the Bridgestone Senior Players Championship will follow suit.

“It’s our 66th year having a professional golf event at Firestone and people take a lot of pride in the event and have a lot of ownership, particularly our volunteers. They view it as their event and they’re coming back. We welcome new people that want to get involved, but we do have a good solid core of volunteers.”

Another change involves the Ambassador of Golf, with Fred Couples chosen as the 2019 honoree. The event will move from Wednesday night to Thursday night and will be a charity fundraiser presented by the FirstEnergy Foundation.

A structure will be erected on the front lawn to accommodate between 500 to 600 for a strolling dinner inside the clubhouse and entertainment by a country artist coming from Nashville.

 

Marla Ridenour can be reached at mridenour@thebeaconjournal.com.