Golf masters pay a visit Seniors PGA: Tour brings major pro competition to Baltimore area after decade-long absence.

June 30, 1998

AS MUCH as Maryland needs more rain to cool temperatures and clean the air, hundreds of people are praying it won't be wet for the PGA Senior Classic this Fourth of July weekend at Hobbit's Glen Golf Club. The Baltimore-Washington area hasn't played host to a major pro golf tournament in more than 10 years. Planners don't want to see anything dampen this affair.

Everyone in the Baltimore region can take pride that Columbia was chosen for a PGA event. The tournament will be the culmination of a four-year effort that began with partners John Matthews and Lee Corrigan approaching the PGA. Hobbit's Glen had to compete against proposals from Dallas, Cleveland, Seattle and Portland.

The Hobbit's Glen tournament may help push Howard County's effort to participate in the First Tee program sponsored by the Professional Golf Association and World Golf Foundation. First Tee tries to increase children's interest in golf by providing affordable and accessible courses where they can learn the sport. The popularity of young golf star Tiger Woods has helped promote First Tee.

Most of the big names on the Senior Tour are expected at Hobbit's Glen, including Arnold Palmer, Hale Irwin, Chi Chi Rodriguez and Lee Trevino, whose 28 wins are tops among the older golfers.

Until now, Baltimore was the largest metropolitan area without a PGA tournament. For the past two years, an unofficial pro-amateur event was held at Cattail Creek Country Club in western Howard County. But Hobbit's Glen -- with more room for spectators, hospitality tents and TV crews -- was judged more fitting for the State Farm Senior Classic. It will be broadcast by ESPN.

More than 100,000 golf fans are expected to attend the tournament in Columbia. Four months of work have gone into preparing Hobbit's Glen for their arrival. Cable has been laid, fences strung, tents erected, portable generators positioned. The golfers are arriving. Here's hoping that the weather cooperates.

Pub Date: 6/30/98

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