Walt Disney World Golf Classic

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Walt Disney World Golf Classic
Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic logo.svg
Tournament information
Location Lake Buena Vista, Florida
Established 1971
Course(s) Walt Disney World Resort (Magnolia & Palm courses)
Par 72 (both courses)
Length 7,516 yards (Magnolia)
6,957 yards (Palm)
Tour(s) PGA Tour
Format Stroke play
Prize fund $4,700,000
Final year 2012
Tournament record score
Aggregate 262 John Huston (1992)
262 Duffy Waldorf (2000)
To par

–26 John Huston (1992)
–26 Duffy Waldorf (2000)

These records only apply to when the tournament has been played as a regular event, not a team event.
Final champion
United States Charlie Beljan

The Walt Disney World Golf Classic was an annual golf tournament on the PGA Tour. The tournament was played on the Palm and Magnolia courses at the Walt Disney World Resort. It was played under several names, reflecting sponsorship changes. Starting in 2007, it was the final event in the PGA Tour Fall Series, and also the final official event of the PGA Tour season. The tournament is one of the players' favorites because of its proximity to Orlando, Florida; many players maintain homes in Florida, and whether or not they live in Florida, they can easily take their families to the parks while not playing. For a number of golfers, it was, at least from 2007–12, a final chance to earn or retain a Tour Card through winning or getting into the top-125 on the Tour's money list.

The 2009 purse was $4,700,000, with $846,000 going to the winner. The tournament was founded in 1971 as the Walt Disney World Open Invitational. From 1974 to 1981, the tournament was played as a two-man team event with a better-ball format. After 36 years of having "Disney" in the tournament name, a new sponsor was announced in 2007, the Children's Miracle Network.[1]

2005 FUNAI Classic[edit]

The 2005 FUNAI Classic, sponsored by Funai Electric Co. Ltd of Japan[2] was won by tour rookie Lucas Glover after he "holed" out a shot from a green-side bunker on Sunday. Prior to the bunker shot, Glover made a 40 foot putt on the 17th green. Tom Pernice, Jr. missed his birdie putt on the 18th, which could have forced a play-off with Glover, giving Glover his first tour win. Glover's victory was the third first-time winner on the PGA Tour in four years at the Disney Classic.

2006 U.S. Open winner Geoff Ogilvy fell apart on the back nine to lose his share of the lead, getting an unlucky bounce off of a rock on the 18th green. Ogilvy told reporters after the round about seeing Glover's shot, "I knew I was tied when I made the putt," Ogilvy said. "And I knew I was one behind before I hit my next tee shot."[3]

The final two rounds of the tournament lost much potential press coverage when Tiger Woods missed the cut, his second missed cut of the season.

2006 FUNAI Classic[edit]

The 2006 FUNAI Classic at WDW featured great media attention leading up to the event, as the decision of Tiger Woods to play or not play would determine whether or not he would be eligible for the Vardon Trophy. Woods needed a total of 60 official PGA Tour rounds to be eligible to win the Vardon Trophy for lowest scoring average, but chose not to play thus forfeiting his chance at winning the award. Despite no longer being eligible for the Vardon Trophy, Woods still won the Byron Nelson Award for lowest scoring average, which requires a total of 50 or more rounds. The 2006 event featured a purse of $4.6 million with $828,000 going to the winner.[4]

Fall Series event[edit]

From 2007 to 2012, the renamed event was demoted to the Fall Series, a mini-schedule of events after the FedEx Cup. While a number of golfers used this opportunity as a last chance to improve their standing on the money list, others had different motivations.

  • 2007 and 2009 winner Stephen Ames was at no risk of losing his card, but extended his time on the tour thanks to multiple wins over the course of the season.
  • 2008 winner Davis Love III earned his 20th win and a lifetime exemption on the PGA Tour.
  • 2010 winner Robert Garrigus was well outside the top 125 before his first PGA Tour win.
  • 2011 winner Luke Donald became the first golfer to lead the money list on the PGA Tour and European Tour in the same season.
  • 2012 winner Charlie Beljan, outside the top 125 before the tournament, overcame a panic attack for his first PGA Tour win.

Television[edit]

The event was televised by ESPN and ABC Sports, until the demotion of the event to the Fall Series in 2007, when it was relegated to cable-only on the Golf Channel. While ESPN and ABC, which are owned by Disney, covered both courses as a form of publicity for both, the Golf Channel covered only the Magnolia course with highlight packages sent in from the Palm. However, this is the manner in which the network has always covered tournaments with multiple venues.

Courses[edit]

The Magnolia Course at Walt Disney World is known as more "tour"-style than its sister the Palm Course. The Palm course is known as the prettier of the two, however. In the 2006 telecast, one commentator is quoted as saying that the Palm course has the better greens of the two courses. The Magnolia has grown to 7,516 yards to battle the usual low scores during the tournament's history.

The nearby Lake Buena Vista golf course has also been part of the tournament, along with the Palm and Magnolia.

Winners[edit]

Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic

Children's Miracle Network Classic

Children's Miracle Network Classic presented by Wal-Mart

FUNAI Classic at the Walt Disney World Resort

Disney Golf Classic

National Car Rental Golf Classic Disney

Walt Disney World/Oldsmobile Classic

Walt Disney World Golf Classic

Walt Disney World National Team Championship

Walt Disney World Golf Classic

Walt Disney World Open Invitational

References[edit]

External links[edit]