HOLLISTER, Mo– Some of the best golfers in the world gathered south of Branson to open Tiger Woods’ public golf course, raise money for the Payne Stewart Family Foundation, and play some competitive golf.
KOLR 10’s Matt Vereen is at Payne’s Valley and has this early report.
Matt Vereen: “Today marks the grand opening of the new Payne’s Valley course down here at Big Cedar Lodge, designed of course by Tiger Woods. So who better than the legend himself Tiger to open the course along with some big names in Justin Thomas, Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy.”
Tiger Woods: “I hope I didn’t, as Johnny (Morris) said, I didn’t screw this up. And today is a very special day. And as Johnny always says, a very happy day.”
A happy day indeed, first tee shot honors going to Aaron Stewart, son of Ozarks native Payne Stewart.
Then it was the man himselfs turn, opening the action in a Ryder Cup style.
Woods and Thomas versus Rose and McIlroy.
Europeans strike first, McIlroy finishing off an opening hole win for a 1UP lead.
The Americans would knot it back on the 2nd, but on hole three it’s McIlroy again.
His short game sets up an easy birdie and back to a 1UP lead.
On the par-5 4th, Woods breaks out his own short game – but the Europeans beat them again
to claim a 2&1 win through the best ball stage.
Tiger with a little revenge on the 6th – winning the long drive challenge.
348 yards the winning number, setting up his first birdie of the day on the 6th green.
From there, the Americans put on the pressure, winning the next stage and splitting the final one setting up a 2-2 tie headed to the par-3 island 19th hole where they were joined by some legends.
Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus teeing off on 19 and both hitting the green.
For the four competitors, however, it was a closest to the pin challenge for the win.
Tiger’s teammate JT came up big, plugging it next to the flag and securing the win for team USA.
“This entire golf course, the fact that we’re able to have the movement that we had and play down and back up,” Woods said. “The experience that we had coming up 19, that’s what it’s all about. I just want to have people just enjoy coming out here and being apart of golf and nature.”
“I love the aesthetic of it,” McIlroy said. “It really, bunkers really frame what you’re doing out there with the tee shots, with the second shots. It gives you some really nice visuals. I think Tiger and his team have done a great job.”
So Tiger Woods’ play helps win the day on the course and his new course wins the admiration of the golfers he brought along with him. The latest addition here at Big Cedar Lodge that I’m sure many local golf fans will want to look into.