Walt Disney World Golf Classic
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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. The tournament was 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 theme parks while not playing.
|Location||Lake Buena Vista, Florida|
|Course(s)||Walt Disney World Resort (Magnolia & Palm courses)|
|Par||72 (both courses)|
|Length||7,516 yards (Magnolia)|
6,957 yards (Palm)
|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.
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. Title sponsors have included Oldsmobile, National Car Rental, Funai, and Children's Miracle Network.
From 2007 to 2012, it was the final event in the PGA Tour Fall Series, and also the final official event of the PGA Tour season. As such, it was a final chance for many players to earn or retain a PGA Tour card through winning or getting into the top 125 on the Tour's money list. The 2010 and 2012 winners, Robert Garrigus and Charlie Beljan respectively, were both outside the top 125 before their wins.
The 2012 purse was $4,700,000, with $846,000 going to the winner.
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.
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.
- 1982–2012 (individual tournament)
- 1974–81 (two-man team event)
Walt Disney World National Team Championship
- 1981 Vance Heafner and Mike Holland - both United States
- 1980 Danny Edwards and David Edwards - both United States
- 1979 George Burns and Ben Crenshaw - both United States
- 1978 Wayne Levi and Bob Mann - both United States
- 1977 Gibby Gilbert and Grier Jones - both United States
- 1976 Woody Blackburn and Billy Kratzert - both United States
- 1975 Jim Colbert and Dean Refram - both United States
- 1974 Hubert Green and Mac McLendon - both United States
- 1971–73 (individual tournament)
|Walt Disney World Golf Classic|
|1973||Jack Nicklaus (3)||United States||275||−13||1 stroke||Mason Rudolph||30,000|
|Walt Disney World Open Invitational|
|1972||Jack Nicklaus (2)||United States||267||−21||9 strokes|| Jim Dent
|1971||Jack Nicklaus||United States||273||−15||3 strokes||Deane Beman||30,000|
- "Flat-screen Tvs Go To Nonprofits". Orlando Sentinel. March 11, 2006.
- Tour's final stop renamed Children's Miracle Network Classic
- Disney no longer part of PGA Tour