OPELIKA, AL (WTVM) - Instead of hitting the Trail the PGA Tour is hitting the road. After three years at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail's Grand National Course in Opelika, the Barbasol Championship is moving to Lexington, Kentucky.
A press conference was held Thursday at Keene Trace Golf Club just outside of Lexington to announce the tournament's new home. The first hint that a change might be in the works is when the Tour released next year's schedule that had the site for the tournament as "to be announced."
City leaders are shedding some light on why the move was made.
"The finances had something to do with it, the weather, there's nothing we could do about the weather but maybe it's a little cooler in Kentucky in July, I don't know. You know, it's kind of hard to compete with the British Open," says Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller.
"I think the PGA would like to have more sponsorship money for a [tournament]. I don't know what that number was but they are strong about supporting local charities and having money left from an event to give to local charities, so I'm not quite sure we hit those revenue marks the PGA wanted to hit, but I don't know that for sure," Fuller says.
The tournament was known to bring in anywhere from $20-25 million to the cities of Opelika and Auburn. However, city leaders are saying people must not forget this is the same area that hosts Auburn athletics so people will still be eating, drinking, and spending money in the cities.
We have reached out to Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail for comment, but at this time they say they are not ready to make a statement.