500 Festival Open Invitation

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The 500 Festival Open Invitation was a PGA Tour event in Indianapolis, Indiana played in the 1960s. It was sponsored by The 500 Festival, a not-for-profit volunteer organization that was created in 1957 to organize civic events to promote the Indianapolis 500.[1] The tournament was played at the Speedway Golf Course, located in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway complex, except in 1965 when it was played at Greentree Country Club while the Speedway was undergoing renovations.

Winners[edit]

Year Date Winner Score To par Winner's
share ($)
Ref.
1968 Jun 6–9 United States Billy Casper 70-71-69-70=280 −8 20,000 [2]
1967 Jul 6–9 United States Frank Beard 70-71-69-69=279 −9 20,000 [3]
1966 Jul 28–31 United States Billy Casper 69-70-68-70=277 −11 16,400 [4]
1965 May 24–27 Australia Bruce Crampton 71-70-67-71=279 −5 15,200 [5]
1964 May 27–31 South Africa Gary Player 70-66-70-67=273 −11 12,000 [6]
1963 May 31 – Jun 3 United States Dow Finsterwald 68-68-64-68=268 −16 10,000 [7]
1962 May 24–27 United States Billy Casper 66-67-67-64=264 −18 9,000 [8]
1961 May 25–28 United States Doug Ford 69-69-67-68=273 −12 9,000 [9]
1960 May 26–29 United States Doug Ford 66-68-68-68=270 −14 9,000 [10]

Tournament highlights[edit]

  • 1961: Ford won on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff over Arnold Palmer.
  • 1963: The Indianapolis 500 was held Thursday May 30, and the tournament was held over four days from Friday, May 31 to Monday, June 3. Previously the golf tournament was held prior to the running of the race. The one-day turnaround required grounds crews to quickly clean up the nine holes inside the track, used on race day for parking by fans. Considerable attention was given to the fact that several top names on the PGA Tour decided to skip the event.[11] Among the reasons cited was the low purse, and the overall unchallenging nature of the course.
  • 1964: The tournament was held Wednesday, May 27 through Friday, May 29, then concluded Sunday May 31. The Indianapolis 500 was held Saturday May 30. Gary Player sank a birdie putt on the final hole to clinch the victory.
  • 1965: The 1965 tournament was held at Greentree Country Club. The Speedway Golf Course was undergoing a renovation project.
  • 1966: The tournament was moved out of the month of May and away from the activities directly surrounding the Indy 500.

See also[edit]

References[edit]