MANATEE -- Recently, The Concession Golf Club unveiled a new amateur match play competition, called the Concession Cup that pits the United States against Great Britain and Ireland, to be held at the private golf course in east Manatee starting at the end of April in 2014.
On Sunday, officials announced the course's co-designers, Tony Jacklin and Jack Nicklaus, will serve as honorary captains for the two teams at the club's clubhouse.
Jacklin, a Bradenton resident who won two major championships and is in the World Golf Hall of Fame, will be the honorary captain for the Great Britain & Ireland side, while Nicklaus, touted as the game's best player ever, was selected to guide Team USA in the inaugural event.
"We're all very excited about the prospect of what we think is going to be, really, a massive event," Jacklin said. "Certainly on the local level, and beyond that."
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The teams, consisting of 18 players (eight mid-amateurs, eight seniors and two super seniors) apiece, will be announced in mid-December.
In addition to the Jacklin and Nicklaus announcement, it was also revealed that Bradenton's Paul Azinger will be the event's honorary chairman with former six-time PGA Tour winner Gary Koch acting as the host and emcee of the opening celebration that takes place the night of April 29th.
The teams get started May 1st and singles matches slated for May 3rd. A charity amateur/amateur event is scheduled for April 30th.
"I'm really personally thrilled with the idea of the Concession Cup and the fact that this club wants to do good," said Azinger, who was the last winning Ryder Cup captain for the U.S. when the Americans defeated Europe in 2008. "And they don't just want to do good for the club, but also for the community. So I'm pumped for the Concession Cup. I think it's going to be great."
The announcement comes on the heels of a month in which the Concession re-
opened the front nine of its course following a summer project where the greens were renovated. General manager Bruce Cassidy Jr. said the renovation, which started June 1st more variety on the greens and additional pin position locations.
But the main caveat to Sunday's gathering at the course's clubhouse was to announce the Concession Cup, which will feature three charities to benefit during the opening gala: The First Tee of Tampa, Orphan's Heart and the Nicklaus Children's Health Care Foundation. And the event is designed to showcase amateur golf at its elite level.
"There are so many terrific amateur players worldwide that get lost in the shuffle, that want to turn pro but the rigors of playing the tour for a living are taxing for a guy that maybe already has a family," Azinger said. "There are so many guys that were good enough to play the tour that chose never to turn pro."
Concession marketing and membership sales director Alan Pope said that in the subsequent tournaments, the teams will be decided on a point system. But the inaugural event was chosen by a tournament committee based off the previous 1 ½ years worth of play from the possible participants with foursome matches followed by fourball matches held May 2nd prior to the tournament.