University of Maryland Course Will Host Nationwide Tour Event

By Kathy Orton
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, October 10, 2009

After three years at the Country Club at Woodmore, the Melwood Prince George's County Open will relocate to the University of Maryland golf course, beginning with next year's event in June.

"We're here for two years," tournament director Teo Sodeman said. "But the idea is once we get established here, we'd like to keep this event here for a long, long time."

Maryland becomes the third college campus to host a Nationwide Tour stop, joining Ohio State and the University of Georgia.

"The university really is excited about hosting this event," University of Maryland President C.D. Mote said. "It gives the university another opportunity to support its community. Service to the community is a big part of the university's mission."

Although Mote confessed to not being a golfer, the school has a strong connection to golf. Among its notable golfing alumni are PGA Tour player Fred Funk, who was Maryland's golf coach from 1982 to '88; Deane Beman, who was commissioner of the PGA Tour from 1974 to '94; and Bill Calfee, who is Nationwide Tour president.

"I'm excited," said Funk, who joined Friday's media conference by phone. "Obviously, that's my home, where I grew up. My roots are there. It's exciting for me to see a Nationwide event go there."

The tournament began looking for a new venue after this year's event concluded. Woodmore had become cramped, and a more spacious location was needed. Organizers were committed to remaining in Prince George's County.

"As we looked around the metropolitan area for a place for us to be able to expand and improve, we narrowed it down to two or three golf courses," Sodeman said. "But when we looked at the University of Maryland and the accessibility and the fact that people are used to doing sporting events here and the space for us to grow and get bigger," it was the right move.

Even though the 50-year-old course recently underwent a year-long facelift, reopening in July, it will need tweaking to prepare it for a Nationwide Tour event. Last week, the PGA Tour agronomy staff visited Maryland. They will be working with the course superintendent during the coming months to enhance the course.

Besides receiving publicity from hosting the tournament and having its course further upgraded by the PGA Tour, Maryland will keep 100 percent of the revenue from the tickets it sells. Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the Terrapins' golf program, including scholarships and facilities.

© 2009 The Washington Post Company