HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - It’s tournament week with the Rapiscan Systems Classic taking place at Fallen Oak. The PGA Tour Champions players are arriving. The golf course is in shape, and all the pieces of the puzzle are coming together.
Tournament Director Stephen Schoettmer is like a choreographer. There are so many moving parts at Fallen Oak with the Rapiscan Systems Classic in go mode. It’s like a traveling road show when the PGA Tour Champions come to town.
“The tournament staff calls it the circus. They come in for essentially a couple of days... they’re out. It’s a six week build out. From the structures to the operation to the fencing, you name it. They come in and leave. It’s quite a spectacle for a few days of golf,” said Schoettmer.
The tents and trailers are in place, and the grandstands and video boards are up. The players are on the practice range on the golf course honing their game and learning about all the nuances of Fallen Oak.
The practice serves a huge benefit for the players and their caddies.
“Basically trying to see how the course is playing. I want to know if it’s firm or fast or a little damp. The greens out here are probably the best we putt all year. This golf course is one we look forward to coming back to every year,” said PGA Tour Champions player Fran Quinn.
It takes weeks to get the fairways rough and the greens ready for the pros. Weather plays a big role in getting the course tournament ready.
“We’re in good shape. We’ve had some good weather this week, although we had a very wet winter," said Director of Grounds Matt Hughes. "It’s shaping up nicely. Obviously, we want them to have a great time out here. I like low scores. Let them have fun, enjoy themselves and enjoy the Gulf Coast.”
Gates open at 10 a.m. on Friday as the pros hit the course, in pursuit of the trophy, the $240,000 winner’s check and the honor of being called champion.