BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Excitement is building for the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic. Every spring, the top names on the Champions Tour tee it up at Fallen Oak for one on the biggest events in South Mississippi.
The golf course is being groomed, the sky boxes and spectator stands are going up and tournament directors are getting head to host this premiere PGA event.
"We're getting ready for everybody to embark on the coast," said Tournament Director Steve Nieman. "We're talking to players and making sure everything is ready for them. It's all the little things going on behind the scenes to make sure when we open the gates to the world that everything is ready to go so everyone can have a good time."
Beau Rivage guests are enjoying the course this week before the pros pull into town. Fallen Oak will close the course this weekend to make sure it's in pristine condition for the guys on the Champions Tour. The PGA works with Fallen Oak to make sure the course is in top shape and poses a challenge to some of the best players in the world.
"The course speaks for itself. It's a championship golf course. At the end of the day, tour officials dictate where we put pin placements and what the speeds of the greens are," according to Head Groundskeeper Matt Hughes.
This is year eight for the event. Everyone involved with the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic hopes to build on past successes that have made the tournament a big boost for tourism.
"We bring all these people to the coast to support tourism. The impact is $15 million a year," Nieman said.
Last year, flamboyant Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez lifted the trophy and became the 2016 Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic champion. Jimenez and other top professionals from the PA Champions Tour will be back at Fallen Oak competing for the 2017 title.
The course will be open to the public on Thursday, March 30 for the pro-am event. Tournament play gets underway Friday, March 31 with the winner being crowned on Sunday, April 2.