High-profile field expected at PGA Tour’s CJ Cup in South Carolina event in October

·4 min read
David Becker/AP

International coronavirus restrictions will bring a PGA Tour tournament to the state at the last minute for the second straight year, and this one — the CJ Cup in South Carolina next month — promises to be a superior experience with a better date and a high-profile field headed by Rory McIlroy.

After COVID forced cancellation of the 2021 RBC Canadian Open, that tournament moved to Congaree Golf Club in Ridgeland under a new name, the Palmetto Championship at Congaree. Played in June the week prior to the U.S. Open, the event drew only a handful of the game’s biggest names.

The CJ Cup comes to the same Congaree GC venue, a Tom Fazio design that has drawn rave reviews, due to pandemic challenges in Korea. But the Oct. 20-23 dates avoid the stifling South Carolina summer heat and the restricted field — the top 60 in the 2021-22 FedEx Cup standings head the qualifications — assures a lineup loaded with top players.

“One of the top events on the PGA Tour,” tournament director Andre Silva said the other day at a media session to announce McIlroy’s commitment to compete. McIlroy edged Collin Morikawa for the title a year ago in Las Vegas.

Again, the state of South Carolina made a financial commitment to bring the event to Congaree. Duane Parrish, director of the Department of Park, Recreation and Tourism, says the money — $6 million in 2021 and $5 million this year — is well spent.

“With the television exposure we receive, it’s a great return on our investment,” Parrish said. “Golf had a $3.3 billion economic impact on the state in 2021, and these tournaments are an opportunity to reach more golfers and bring them to South Carolina.”

The CJ Cup began in Korea in 2017, then moved to Vegas for the 2020 and 2021 events due to the pandemic. Parrish learned in May that there might be an opportunity to secure the tournament for South Carolina this fall, and his efforts came to fruition in July.

“More exposure for the state in general and especially in golf,” he said. “The golf courses throughout the state are jammed, and this is a chance to continue that momentum.”

J.T. Poston, a two-time PGA Tour winner who finished 22nd in the 2022 FedEx standings, called the Congaree course “different from what we see week in and week out and will be a tough challenge.”

The guys, he predicted, “will fall in love with the course.”

The no-cut field will be limited to 78 players. Tickets are available at www.cjcupsouthcarolina.com.

SC Golf Hall of Fame. State playing stalwarts Todd White and Sherri Turner and administrator Charlie Roundtree III will be inducted into the South Carolina Golf Hall of Fame in January.

White, a multi-time player of the year in the state, received All-American and All-Southern Conference honors at Furman, earned a berth on the 2013 U.S. Walker Cup team, teamed with Nathan Smith to win the 2015 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball and has competed in 35 USGA national championships.

Turner’s selection had been announced in 2020, but her induction has been delayed by COVID-19 restrictions. A Greenville native, she helped Furman win the 1976 women’s national championship and earned All-American honors in 1979. Her professional career included three LPGA Tour tournament titles, including a major, the 1988 LPGA Championship. She earned LPGA player of the year honors and led the circuit in earnings in 1988.

Roundtree follows his Hall of Fame father, Charlie Roundtree Jr., into the state shrine. He served on the S.C. Golf Association board of directors for 20 years, had a hand in starting multiple initiatives, including the S.C. Junior Golf Association, and served 25 years on the USGA junior committee.

During the time the Heritage, the PGA Tour’s annual tournament on Hilton Head Island, needed a title sponsor, Roundtree took a leading role in the process that eventually secured the Royal Bank of Canada as the title sponsor.

They will be inducted in ceremonies on the 19th annual S.C. Golf Day, Jan. 14, 2023, at Columbia Country Club.

Chip shots. Eddie Hargett (Blythewood), well on his way to earning another SCGA senior player of the year award, teamed with Brad Krapfel (Columbia) to earn the SCGA’s Senior Better Ball title. ... Zachary Herold (Lexington) and Dixon Walker (Columbia) edged Michael Sims (Lexington) and Garland Ferrell (Greenville) in a playoff to win the SCGA Mid-Amateur Four-Ball tourney.