After a 31-year absence, the Wyndham Championship is set to return to the historic course where golfers such as Sam Snead and Ben Hogan first competed seven decades ago.
With its return to Sedgefield Country Club in southwest Greensboro beginning with the 2008 tournament, the Wyndham Championship becomes the only regular-season tournament on the PGA TOUR schedule to be contested on a Donald Ross original course each year.
When the tournament began in 1938 as the Greater Greensboro Open, it was played at both Starmount Forest and Sedgefield Country Clubs. After alternating between the two courses for many years and being contested at Sedgefield from 1961 through ‘76, the tournament moved to Forest Oaks Country Club in 1977 and remained at the southeast Greensboro course through the 2007 Wyndham Championship.
Al Geiberger won the last tournament played at Sedgefield in 1976 with a two-stroke margin over Lee Trevino. At that time, the Sedgefield course was 6,643 yards and played to a par 70. In 2008, Sedgefield will be a par-70 course playing to more than 7,100 yards. The AJGA FootJoy Invitational will also be contested at Sedgefield Country Club beginning with the 2008 tournament.
“This is a great day for the Wyndham Championship and the entire Piedmont Triad,” Bobby Long, chairman of the Piedmont Triad Charitable Foundation Board said. “We appreciate everything Forest Oaks Country Club did for this tournament during the last 31 years; the growth the tournament enjoyed at Forest Oaks is the foundation for what the Wyndham Championship is now and what we hope it will become in the very near future.”
The Piedmont Triad Charitable Foundation oversees Wyndham Championship tournament operations. The Foundation has signed a multi-year lease at Sedgefield Country Club which gives the Wyndham Championship the ability to operate all aspects of the PGA TOUR event at the Greensboro course. At the same time, the Foundation came to an amicable resolution with Forest Oaks Country Club to move the Wyndham Championship to Sedgefield. Terms of the Sedgefield lease and the Forest Oaks resolution are confidential.
“We appreciate the willingness of the Nisshin Corporation and everyone at Forest Oaks to work with us in our efforts to move the Wyndham Championship to Sedgefield,” Long said. “This process had a lot of moving parts which is why it took more than four months to make it happen. At the end of the day, we want to do anything we can to make the Wyndham Championship A + + in every way, and the move to Sedgefield is the latest step in that process.
“With this change, we move to a golf course designed by Donald Ross; we will be just minutes away from the Grandover Resort where most of the players and sponsors stay; and our event moves much closer to the center of the Piedmont Triad.”
“We are delighted to learn that the Wyndham Championship will return to its roots at Sedgefield,” Wyndham Vacation Ownership, Inc. president and CEO Franz Hanning said. “The championship has enjoyed great venues over the years and Sedgefield has a wonderful history of hosting the event. Wyndham is proud to be associated with this premier golf championship at this historic course.”
Last year, North Carolina course architect Kris Spence led a $2.7 million restoration process which took the Sedgefield course back to its original Donald Ross design. The course re-opened to rave reviews last fall. Spence specializes in restoring Donald Ross-designed courses.
“The beauty of Sedgefield is the realm of the restoration,” Spence said. “I am careful not to say we put the course exactly how Donald Ross had it. We try to reinstate the thought process that he intended while making some minor adjustments to bring it in line with the modern player. Ross thought about golf shots; he wanted his courses to be playable, but wanted the player to hit a certain shot to get to a pin or an area of the fairway. We brought that back.”
“Sedgefield has a great deal of Wyndham Championship history,” Sedgefield Country Club president Joe Depasquale said. “It makes so much sense for the tournament to come home to Sedgefield, and we are delighted to have it back. We understand the value this tournament represents for the entire Piedmont Triad, and we plan to do whatever is necessary to be good stewards of this important event. We are very proud of the facilities at Sedgefield, and we look forward to providing a first-class venue for the Wyndham Championship.”
Sedgefield Country Club, founded in 1925, is located in the stately rolling hills of Greensboro’s Sedgefield neighborhood. The club has hosted many amateur golf tournaments as well as 26 years of the Greater Greensboro Open event. In addition to its Donald Ross-designed golf course, Sedgefield is perhaps best known for its signature clubhouse, a Tudor-style building housed in the framework of the original Sedgefield Inn built in 1925; the Atlantic Coast Conference was founded in this building in 1953.