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First, a story that was a favorite of the late and deeply missed Dave Marr… “Back in the 1950s and `60s, guys on TOUR liked to play tournaments


in


Mexico and South America because the fields weren’t that strong and it was a good way to pick up a decent check in the off-season. In 1953, Al Besselink was eligible to play in the first Tournament of Champions at the Desert Inn in Las Vegas. The problem is, he was tapped out. So Bessie went to a racetrack in Miami to try and win enough to get to Vegas. Naturally, he got wiped out but as he was leaving he kicked over a ticket for a winner. He cashed out and went to South America to play in a tournament, which he won. When he got to Vegas, he noticed that the odds against him were huge, so he bet almost everything he’d won on himself because he knew he was playing good, even if the news from South America never made it out of town. Not only did he win the bet, but also the first prize, which was $10,000 in silver dollars. Typical of Bessie, though, he gave a whole bunch of his winnings to the Damon Runyon Cancer Fund and never made a big deal about it.”


PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Kicks Off Like Bessie, the PGA TOUR is ready to visit Latin America with the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica—an 11-event tour—which kicks off this September and continues through December with tournaments in Mexico, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Argentina, Peru and the Dominican Republic. “This expansion into Latin America, when combined with what


the Nationwide Tour has been able to accomplish in the region in recent years, is part of the natural progression for golf which continues to grow globally,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem. “We see this as an opportunity to help in the further development of elite players across the region. The timing is right, with South America hosting its first-ever Olympic Games, which includes golf’s return to the competition for the first time in more than 100 years.” PGA TOUR Latinoamérica events will be 72-hole stroke play


tournaments consisting of fields of up to 144 players. The fields will consist primarily of the top professionals in the region with the top-five money earners receiving access to the Nationwide Tour the following year. The inaugural season begins in Mexico with two events: The


Mundo Maya Open kicks off the season on September 3 in Merida, Mexico at the Yucatan Country Club, a Jack Nicklaus- designed course. The second event is the Monterrey Open at La Herradura Golf Club in Monterrey. The Colombian Open,


86 PGA TOUR ESSENTIAL GUIDE 2012


The PGA TOUR Latinoamérica locations.


which began in 1945, closes the opening swing. It will be played at Bogotá’s Club El Rincón de Cajicá. October will mark the 58th playing of the Brazil Open in


Sao Paulo, followed by the Roberto De Vicenzo Invitational in Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires, at the San Eliseo Golf & Country Club. It will be the first of three events in Argentina during the inaugural season. November brings the TOUR to an event that’s celebrating


its 30th anniversary: the Peru Open at Los Inkas Golf Club in Lima. Then players will head to the Caribbean for tournaments on the islands of the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico: The Dominican Republic Open at Cana Bay Golf Club and the Puerto Rico Classic at the newly renovated East Course at Dorado Beach Resort. The final stretch of PGA TOUR Latinoamérica’s inaugural season


begins in Cali, Colombia for the Colombian Coffee Classic at Club Campestre de Cali. Players vying for the top spots on the money list will have two events remaining in Buenos Aires—the Olivos Golf Classic-Copa Personal at Olivos Golf Club and the 107th Argentine Open at Nordelta Golf Club, another Nicklaus design.


All eyes on Brazil and the 2016 Olympic Games One major impetus for this international growth going forward is the decision by the International Olympic Committee to include golf in the 2016 Olympic Games, the first time golf will be an Olympic sport since the 1904 Games. A design team, including noted golf course architect Gil Hanse and World Golf Hall of Fame member Amy Alcott, has been selected to build the course. Indeed, Latin America has produced a wealth of top players in ➤


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