Altvater: Toledo golf fans have variety of viewing options this summerWritten by Fred Altvater | | BackNine@toledofreepress.com
Northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan golf fans have plenty of opportunities to see the biggest stars in golf up close and in person this summer.
The PGA Tour has three events nearby and the Champions Tour will hold one of its major championships in Michigan. Along with the Marathon Classic here in Toledo the women of the LPGA Tour will stop in Grand Rapids, Michigan, for the inaugural Meijer Classic. See the stars of tomorrow playing on the Web.com Tour in three tournaments. Cleveland, Columbus and Fort Wayne all host Web.com Tour events.
To start the season the Champions Tour is holding one of its majors, the Senior PGA Championship, at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor, Michigan, on May 22-25. Fred Couples, Bernhard Langer and Kenny Perry will headline a stellar field of the best Champions Tour players.
Benton Harbor is on Lake Michigan’s eastern shore and is a three-hour drive on the turnpike (I-80) from Toledo.
Coming at the end of May, Jack Nicklaus will once again host the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, over Memorial Day weekend May 29-June 1.
Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy have already committed to be in the field at the Memorial and the tournament always draws one of the strongest fields of the year as players prepare for the upcoming U.S. Open.
On the heels of the Memorial Tournament, the Web.com stops in Ohio for the Cleveland Open at Westlake Golf Club on June 5-8.
The LPGA visits Toledo for the annual Marathon Classic on July 17-20 at Highland Meadows Golf Club. The Marathon Classic always draws a quality field and many past champions have also won major championships.
Winner of the 2014 Kraft Nabisco Championship, Lexi Thompson has already committed to play in the Marathon Classic as well as fan favorites Paula Creamer, Stacy Lewis, Suzann Pettersen and Michelle Wie.
On July 31-Aug. 3 the WGC-Bridgestone will be held at Firestone Country Club in Akron. It annually invites only the elite of the professional golf. Players have to be in the Top 50 in the world rankings, a member of the last Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup team or have won a sanctioned tournament within the past calendar year.
Next on the golf schedule is the final major of the year. The PGA Championship will be held Aug. 7-10, at Valhalla Golf Club near Louisville, Kentucky.
Jason Dufner is the defending champion, but he will have to contend with Matt Kuchar, Dustin Johnson, Webb Simpson and wunderkind, Jordan Spieth.
Louisville is a five-hour drive down I-75 and might be a bit too far for most fans, but the chance to attend a major only comes around so often.
The LPGA returns to Michigan for the inaugural Meijer Classic in Grand Rapids the same week, Aug. 7-10. Grand Rapids is a great city to visit and is only a little over three hours by car from Toledo.
The Web.com Tour will be holding its race to earn PGA Tour cards at the end of the season with the Web.com Tour Final Series.
The Web.com Tour Final Series combines the Top 75 finishers from the Web.com Tour regular season with Nos. 125-200 from the PGA Tour to offer 25 shiny new PGA Tour cards for next year.
Two of those events are held within easy driving distance of Toledo.
The Hotel Fitness Championship is the first event of the final four events on the Web.com Tour. It is held at Sycamore Hills Golf Club in Fort Wayne, Indiana, on Aug. 28-31.
With the completion of US 24 from Toledo to Fort Wayne, it is an easy hour drive down the four-lane.
The third leg of the Web.com Tour Final Series is the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship held at the Ohio State University’s Scarlet Course on Sept. 11-14.
Scarlet is a wonderful Alister MacKenzie design which was renovated by Jack Nicklaus in 2007.
It’s well worth the drive to watch the youngsters trying to make it to the bright lights and big paychecks of the PGA Tour, plus fans get to walk the same course Jack Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf played as collegians.
Nine professional golf tournaments within easy driving distance of Toledo give any golf fan a reason to fuel up the family vehicle and view the best golfers in the world.
Whatever your taste, PGA Tour, Champions Tour, LPGA or Web.com, they are all available to area golf fans.
Tags: Alister MacKenzie, Benton Harbor, Bernhard Langer, Champions Tour, Cleveland Open, Dustin Johnson, Fred Altvater, Fred Couples, Jack Nicklaus, Jason Dufner, Jordan Spieth, Kenny Perry, Lexi Thompson, Marathon Classic, Matt Kuchar, Meijer Classic, Memorial Tournament, Michelle Wie, Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, Paula Creamer, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, Senior PGA Championship, Stacy Lewis, Suzann Pettersen, The Back Nine, Tom Weiskopf, Web.com, Web.com Tour, Webb Simpson, WGC-Bridgestone