Virginia Golfer Sep / Oct 2017 - Page 25

VYING FOR THE CHARLES SCHWAB CUP “ And some guys just don’t have that drive; they’ve done it 40 years or whatever and they’d rather do other things. . . That’s not me.” On a sun-splashed morning at the Country Club of Virginia, Steve Schoenfeld looked up the empty 18th fairway of the James River Course and smiled with the pride of ownership. He heard in his head the hum of last year’s crowd at the inaugural Dominion Energy Charity Classic, where Scott McCarron birdied 18 to win a playoff. And Schoenfeld knew the best PGA Tour Champions players would again bathe in that excitement at CCV in October. “These guys still love playing in front of crowds,” said Schoenfeld of the PGA Tour Championship Management Division, who is executive director of the tournament. “They’re all competitors and it drives them. There was a real buzz out here for the players, for everyone. Richmond and Henrico County really delivered that, more than we could have expected in year one. It felt great.” The tour doesn’t announce attendance figures, but Schoenfeld said, “Just eyeballing it, we certainly were the best-attended playoff event.” This year, the Dominion Energy Charity Classic (Oct. 19–21) is the first of three tournaments that will decide the Charles Schwab Cup, which brings a $1 million bonus. The top 72 players on the regular-season money list will qualify. Only 54 golfers will advance from Richmond to the PowerShares QQQ Championship in Los Angeles. The top 36 survivors then compete in the Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Scottsdale, Ariz. Bernhard Langer is the defending champion. “It’s so much fun to have them here,” said Summer Lee, one of three PGA professionals at CCV. Lee, Warren West and Eric Layton head up numerous aspects of player and spectator service during the week, from the Wednesday and Thursday pro- ams to the practice areas to the daily herding of golf carts. “It’s exciting when the players appreciate the facility as a whole, the golf course and the staff,” Lee said. “They are long days, but it goes fast.” The James River Course is a 7,010-yard, par-72 layout Schoenfeld called viewing-friendly whether fans follow groups or camp strategically to catch action on multiple holes. He noted an area off the 10th green allows views of the 11th tee, 12th green and 13th tee. He considers No. 14, a 218-yard par-3 to an elevated green, the course’s signature hole. But he said No. 16 through 18—a par-5, par-3 and another par-5—is a potentially decisive run and hospitality mecca. Demand was so great at No. 16, Schoenfeld said, that a second hospitality deck will be added. At 218 yards, the par-3 14th hole is a signature hole at the Country Club of Virginia’s James River Course. WHAT: The first of three playoff events for the Charles Schwab Cup WHEN: Oct. 19–22, 2017 WHERE: The Country Club of Virginia, James River Course SPECS: Par-72, 7,010 yards DEFENDING CHAMPION: Scott McCarron FIELD: Top 72 players, three-day, no-cut event PURSE: $2 million, $300,000 to the winner TICKETS: Daily grounds (Thursday–Sunday), $16-$31. Weekly grounds (Thursday–Sunday) $77. Youth 18 and under admitted free. Military (active, reserve, retired) admitted free. TV: Live, Golf Channel, 2:30–5 p.m. Friday–Sunday WEBSITE: S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 17 | V I R G I N I A G O L F E R 23