The final stop on the PGA TOUR for 2012, the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic (CMNHC), gets underway Thursday, November 8th at Disney’s Magnolia and Palm Golf Clubs. This will mark the 41st year the PGA TOUR has stopped at the Walt Disney Resort location and, for some in the field, this represents a final opportunity to break into the top 125 on the TOUR money list to secure their playing cards for 2013. Others may be seeking to move into the top 70 on the money list which means exemptions to the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard and the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance. Cracking the top 80 on the money list means an exemption to the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. And for some, let’s be honest, it means a chance to relax with family and take in the Disney atmosphere.
Let’s preview the event and get a feel for the finale of a most memorable 2012 season.
The Courses: The CMNHC is contested on two courses at the Disney complex—the Palm Course and the Magnolia Course. Each player in the field plays the Palm Course for one round; after the cut only the Magnolia Course is in play.
The Palm Course plays to a par of 72 over 7010 yards from the tips, much of it natural Florida wildlife. With water on nine holes and tight, heavily wooded fairways, the Palm course is rated one of the “Top 100” Resort Courses in the country. In 2011, Palm yielded a scoring average of 69.578. Justin Rose posted a course-record 60 on the Palm in 2006.
The Magnolia course also plays to a par of 72 at 7.516 yards over 175 acres of thick Florida wetlands and features wide fairways, large, undulating greens and 97 bunkers including the famous “Mouse Trap” which fronts the green at the par-3 6th hole and water can come into play on 11 of the 18 holes. Jack Nicklaus won the first three Disney Tournaments in 1971-73. The course record at Magnolia was established by Payne Stewart in the third round in 1990 when he recorded nine birdies and one eagle on his way to a 61; that record still stands today. Magnolia played to an average of 71.367 in 2011.
The Field: The CMNHC has drawn a field of 128 which includes six winners from 2012: George McNeil, Ben Curtis, Ted Potter, Jr., Scott Stallings, Jonas Blixt and Tommy “Two Gloves” Gainey. Past Major winners in the field include Curtis, Mike Weir, Trevor Immelman, Stewart Cink, Justin Leonard and Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III. Luke Donald will not be defending his title due to a previously scheduled medical procedure for one of his children. Viewers may want to pay particular attention to updates on movement in the money list as that will be a key focus during the broadcast. Hardcore fans can also check pgatour.com for up-to-the-minute money list projections as the action unfolds.
The Purse: The Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic has a purse of $4.7 million and first place prize money of $846,000.
The Schedule: The CMNHC runs from Thursday, November 8th through Sunday, November 11th. All four rounds will be broadcast on the Golf Channel from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern Time.
Be sure to check back each evening after play for updates and highlights.