PGA Tour

BMW returns to Cliffs Valley

Hollywood star Kevin Costner headlined the first BMW Celebrity Pro-Am at The Cliffs Valley in 2001.

The BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by Synnex enjoyed the best crowds and earned its reputation as one of the top events on the early versions of the Web.com Tour when it was played at Cliffs Valley.

Now the tournament is returning to the course north of Travelers Rest as it prepares for the 2018 renewal of the event to be held May 17-20th.

US Open champion Lucas Glover played in the BMW when it was held at The Cliffs Valley.

“We are thrilled to return to The Cliffs Valley, and we know that both our celebrity and amateur players will be equally pleased by this news,” said Bob Nitto, president, BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by SYNNEX Corporation.

The Furman Golf Club is back for its second year and Thornblade Club continues as the host club.

Golfers will play the first three rounds in a rotation at the three courses with the final round played at Thornblade.

In addition to a change in venue South Carolina Charities, which operates the non-profit tournament, has changed the direction of its charitable contributions.

Larry the Cable Guy was one of the celebrities who played in the 2017 tournament.

This year instead of spreading the proceeds of the event to a dozen or more charities the BMW Tournament has pledged its major contributions to four organizations.

Children’s Hospital of Greenville Health System, Cliffs Residents Outreach, Mobile Meals of Spartanburg and Upstate SC STEM Collaborative are the four featured charities.

Other local organizations will continue to have the opportunity to raise funds from the event through ticket sales.

“This event is much more than a golf tournament, by highlighting the work of our featured charities, we look forward to heightening awareness of these organizations as well as increasing funds raised to champion their missions,” said Steve Sellery, the new Executive Director, of the event.

When the tournament moved from its original home at Verdae Greens to The Cliffs in 2001, movie star Kevin Costner helped create a buzz in the community that made the tournament more than just a golf event.

Costner was joined by other Hollywood and sports stars to also make the BMW tournament a highlight on the then Buy.com Tour schedule.

Clemson grad won the 2001 BMW Tournament at Cliffs Valley. The Clemson grad went on to play and win on the PGA Tour.

A victory by recent Clemson grad Jonathan Byrd in the first event was the icing on the cake for a successful launch of the new celebrity format.

The tournament has been played at a handful of courses since it left The Cliffs and now with a return to the Ben Wright designed course the tournament has come full circle.

“The tournament has always looked for a way to be relevant,” said Sellery. “From a charitable giving perspective and giving golfers a unique experience and being worthy of being broadcast on television,” he said.

The new tournament director pointed out that more people watch golf on TV and follow celebrities and golfers than come out to tournaments. Sellery hopes to build on that interest to aid the charities by creating year round awareness of the contributions the tournament makes to the Upstate.

“For 51 other weeks we are working to create, develop and manage the event. I want to be an ambassador for the work of the tournament, engage more people in the Upstate to understand what the tournament does and how they can get involved either playing, volunteering, sponsoring or attending,” said the Executive Director.

The Cliffs initial involvement in the BMW tournament was in large part due to their interest in promoting property sales at their golf communities. The television broadcasts on the Golf Channel showcased their courses and the Upstate.

The final round of last year’s tournament was rained out. Third round leader Stephen Jaeger won the rain shortened event.

Now with the golf communities maturing the company’s involvement is more focused on how it can help the tournament be a success.

“ I know our members are thrilled to welcome the BMW Charity Pro-Am back to The Cliffs,” said David Sawyer, Managing Partner/President, The Cliffs Clubs. “We are looking forward to joining Thornblade Club and The Furman Golf Club as we work with the tournament team to create a phenomenal event,” he said.

Volunteer Registration is Open

Information about volunteer opportunities for the 2018 tournament is now online and registration is available at http://www.bmwusfactory.com/charity-golf/volunteers/

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