84 Lumber Classic
Nemacolin Woodlands Resort
|Length||7,550 yards (6,904 m)|
|Prize fund||$4.6 million (in 2006)|
The 84 Lumber Classic was a golf tournament on the PGA Tour, held from 2000 through 2006 at three different Pennsylvania courses. The event's final title sponsor was lumber company 84 Lumber. The host course from 2003 to 2006 was Mystic Rock near Farmington, designed by Pete Dye and part of the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, owned by 84 Lumber founder Joseph Hardy.
History of the 84 Lumber Classic
Before it became the 84 Lumber Classic in 2003, it was the Pennsylvania Classic, played outside Philadelphia in 2000 and 2002 at Waynesborough Country Club in Paoli, with the 2001 event at Laurel Valley Golf Club in Ligonier. Unlike the Pennsylvania Classic, the four editions of 84 Lumber were at the same course: Mystic Rock. In 2003, the September tournament attracted a very small number of well-known pros and had a fan favorite, John Daly, as one of the main attractions. Daly was in a deal with the 84 Lumber company to wear its logo during his competitive golf rounds, and thus he did appear at the tournament. The low attraction of highly ranked pros showed in golfer J. L. Lewis seizing victory.
The struggle to attract better competition was evident in Hardy's decision to bring Pete Dye back in order to renovate the course. The renovations included lengthening as well as creating better spectator views for the tournament. The major renovation may have been the building of Falling Rock, a large clubhouse with extensive facilities for the players. Hardy had publicly stated that he was interested in hosting a U.S. Open at Nemacolin Woodlands, but unfortunately the difficulty of the course was questionable due to the low winning score from 2003.
In 2004, number one ranked player Vijay Singh accepted Hardy's invitation to play in the 84 Lumber Classic. The acceptance by Singh was a victory for the directors of tournament in attracting better competition. At the time, Singh was not endorsing the 84 Lumber company, but he received an offer after his victory. The second installment of the 84 Lumber Classic was a bigger success then the first. Singh went on to win over little opposition during his record setting year. The tournament yielded low scores despite the strong efforts to make the course more challenging by owner Joe Hardy.
The third installment of the 84 Lumber Classic carried the best turn-out of highly ranked players in the tournament's history. Two of the four best players in the world, Phil Mickelson and 84 Lumber sponsored Vijay Singh, attracted greater crowds. However, the expected battle between the two giants was dampened by a Cinderella story contestant who had recently leaped into the national spotlight. U.S. Open contender, Jason Gore, was able to pull off a victory after jumping up on to the PGA Tour from the Nationwide Tour. Gore's victory assured him a tour card for several years to come, while raising the question of whether Hardy should offer a sponsorship to the newcomer. However, the similarity between already sponsored John Daly and Gore forced Hardy to choose one over the other.
The End of the Classic
The 84 Lumber Company announced in April 2006 that it would no longer host the Classic. The move was unexpected, but understandable as the company had recently laid off a significant number of employees nationwide. Hardy's daughter, Maggie, explained the situation as the sponsorship of tournament being unfair to the thousands who had lost their jobs, and also unnecessary because the purpose of the tournament was to entertain clients — which the company could do at any other golf tournament. The 2006 event - won by Ben Curtis - was the last installment of the 84 Lumber Classic.
Michelle Wie at 2006 event
Teenager Michelle Wie accepted an invitation by Wie family friend and 84 Lumber owner Joe Hardy to play in the 2006 tournament. It was her sixth attempt to make a cut in a PGA Tour event and third attempt in 2006. It was expected that Wie's involvement would help draw fans to the event. At the September event, Wie shot 14 over par over the first two rounds, finishing 23 strokes behind the leaders and last among all competitors who completed two rounds.
The 2001 Pennsylvania Classic was the first PGA Tour tournament staged after the September 11, 2001 attacks. All events that had been scheduled for the previous week were cancelled. The Laurel Valley course used that year was about 40 miles west of Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where United Airlines Flight 93 went down. The hole flags used during the tournament consisted of American flags as a sign of patriotism and as a remembrance of all who lost their lives in the attacks.
84 LUMBER Classic
84 Lumber Classic of Pennsylvania
- 2003 J. L. Lewis
SEI Pennsylvania Classic
- 2002 Dan Forsman
Marconi Pennsylvania Classic
- 2001 Robert Allenby
SEI Pennsylvania Classic
- 2000 Chris DiMarco
- "Sports: golf". Spokesman-Review. September 18, 2006. p. C4.
- Dudurich, Mike (April 21, 2006). "Decision tough to shut down 84 Lumber Classic". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved April 20, 2011.
- "Curtis wins final edition of 84 Lumber by two strokes". ESPN.com. Associated Press. September 19, 2006. Retrieved April 20, 2011.
- "Wie has another tilt at PGA event". CNN.com. April 22, 2006. Retrieved April 20, 2011.
- Ferguson, Doug (September 23, 2001). "Allenby Surges Into Lead". The Daily Union (Junction City, Kansas). Retrieved April 20, 2011.