The Concession tabbed as 2015 Golf Championship host

Herald Staff WritersDecember 18, 2012 

MANATEE -- The Concession Golf Club already has gained praise as a top-notch course.

Now the exclusive private facility in East Manatee is on the fast track as a go-to option for high-level golf tournaments.

The course was selected Monday to host the 2015 NCAA Division-I Men's and Women's Golf Championships -- the largest college tournament in the country.

"I'm very excited about it," said Joe Pickett, sports commissioner of Manatee County. "I think it's just a fantastic event for the area."

NCAA officials came to survey the club's course after it submitted a bid last June to host the championships,

General Manager Bruce Cassidy Jr. said.

"They were interested in the course and the area and its airport accessibility," Cassidy said. "They wanted to see if Bradenton could handle an event like this."

This isn't the first time the Concession will host a marquee collegiate event. Last February, the Big Ten Match Play was conducted here, and the Callaway Collegiate Match Play was held in March. Both tournaments were men's events.

The NCAA 2015 Championships will include 156 men's golfers and 126 women golfers.

"With each of them comes parents and friends, and that's hotel rooms," Cassidy said.

There's another bonus in the whole process: television exposure.

The Golf Channel, which filmed a three-part instructional series with two-time major championship winner and Bradenton resident Tony Jacklin at the course in July, is scheduled to broadcast the NCAA Championships beginning in 2014.

"Any time you get TV cameras on the property, it gives an opportunity for the community to spotlight the area and for the club to spotlight its course," Cassidy said.

Manatee hosted the NAIA men's and women's golf championship in 2011.

Golf Channel President Mike McCarley announced television's return to the national championship on Monday.

"We are committed to covering all facets of the game of golf, and this new partnership with the NCAA will be the centerpiece of our broader commitment to covering the collegiate game," McCarley said in a news release. "We look forward to introducing our viewers to the future stars of the game and tapping into the tremendous passion collegiate fans have for their schools."

Some of those past stars include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa. All of those players have won major championships in the men's or women's game.

It's a big win for Manatee County as the NCAA National Golf Championships have not been held in the Sunshine State since 1990, and 2015 will mark the first time in 18 years that the women's tournament will air live on television.

The University of South Florida is the designated host for the tournament slated for competition in May 2015.

"They couldn't ask for a better championship course," Pickett said.

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