NGA Tour coming back to Natchez

Published 12:01am Friday, May 3, 2013

NATCHEZ — Locals who have fond memories of the T.C. “Rick” Jordan Golf Tour will be treated to a bit of nostalgia and excitement this July.

The tour, which is now known as the National Golf Association Pro Golf Tour, will be returning to Natchez after more than a decade hiatus the week of July 8 at Beau Pré Country club. Chairman Woody Allen said serious discussions about bringing the tour back to Natchez began around the start of the year.

The T.C. Jordan Tour was a staple in Natchez each year from 1992 until 1998 at the former Belwood Country Club. Lee Moore, executive president and director of public relations for the Celebrity Players Tour, helped bring the tour to Natchez originally and stayed in touch with Allen through the years.

“He came to me and asked what I thought about bringing the tour back, and I said that we’d take another look,” Allen said.

Moore said he felt the NGA would be a good fit for a return trip to Natchez.

“We always thought that when the time was right that we should bring it back,” Moore said. “Woody told me he wanted to do it because it would be good for the community, and this would be a unifying effort for Beau Pré to get the club members back involved.”

The NGA tour boasts the title of the longest-running developmental tour in the U.S. It has produced 15 major champions, Allen said, and this year’s trip to Natchez has a little bit extra riding on it.

“Our event is the cutoff event for the Reno-Tahoe Open, which is two weeks after our event,” Allen said. “The lead point-getter gets an exemption to go on and play in Reno.”

The tour will include week-long, walking-only events that consist of the qualifier tournament, practice rounds and range use, a free junior clinic, sponsor Pro-Ams and a four-day, 72-hole professional tournament.

“Beau Pré is designed for golf events such as these,” Allen said. “We’re looking forward to having first-class players coming to play.”

When the T.C. Jordan tour made regular stops in Natchez, locals would often open their homes for some of the golfers to stay in. Now that it’s returning, Allen said locals are welcomed to show their hospitality again.

“Everyone I’ve talked to is very excited about this,” he said. “Most everyone has offered to help in any way that they can. Some have offered private housing — we haven’t even put it out there yet, and already we’ve had 25 people come out and offer their houses to players.”

All of the tour’s activities are open to the public, and Allen said people are invited to come soak in the atmosphere of a professional golf tour.

“Hopefully folks will come out to watch,” he said.