Golf Channel to televise October college tournament at Blessings

By: Tom Murphy
Published: Tuesday, September 1, 2020
Dylan Kim of Arkansas hits onto the 13th green Tuesday, May 21, 2019, during her match with Siyun Liu of Wake Forest in the Women's NCAA Golf Championship at Blessings Golf Club in Johnson.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Dylan Kim of Arkansas hits onto the 13th green Tuesday, May 21, 2019, during her match with Siyun Liu of Wake Forest in the Women's NCAA Golf Championship at Blessings Golf Club in Johnson.

FAYETTEVILLE — The University of Arkansas has teamed with its home course, Blessings Golf Club, and Tyson Foods to hold a college golf event this fall.

The event, called the Blessings Collegiate Invitational sponsored by Tyson Foods, is scheduled for Oct. 5-7.

The season-opening tournament is expected to include the men’s and women’s programs for all SEC school. The invitational is another big opportunity for the UA to showcase its home course and campus, much like the NCAA golf championships held at Blessings in May 2019.

The tournament will be broadcast live on the Golf Channel each day from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Central.

“We are committed to the support of college athletics, one of the many ways we contribute to our communities and celebrate NW Arkansas as a great place to live and work,” John Tyson, Chairman of Tyson Foods, Inc., said in a statement. “The inauguration of the Blessings Collegiate Invitational allows us to showcase the vibrant and growing NW Arkansas community while allowing student golf athletes to compete at a world class venue.”

The 54-hole tournament will feature medalist honors for the men and women and awards for the best team scores for both fields.

Since the start of the Covid-19 crisis there had been uncertainty surrounding previously scheduled college tournaments across the country, but the SEC recently announced it would hold limited fall scheduling in sports like golf and tennis, whose main seasons are held in the spring. The SEC’s uniform coronavirus protocols made it more likely to schedule SEC-only types of events, such as what happened with the 10-game conference-only football schedule.

“I couldn’t be more excited to kickstart the 2020-21 season here at home at the Blessings Collegiate Invitational," Arkansas women’s Coach Shauna Taylor said in a statement. “After this six-month layoff from college golf due to COVID-19, it is going to be amazing to compete at home and to share it with Razorback Nation via the Golf Channel.”

Taylor and UA men’s Coach Brad McMakin both expressed their appreciation for Tyson’s support across the spectrum of Razorbacks’ golf.

“First we want to thank Mr. Tyson and the Blessings for their support of our programs, college golf and amateur golf in general,” McMakin said in a statement. “Also, we are grateful for the commitment the Golf Channel has made to make this event a reality.

“We cannot wait to open this season and play it at home at one of the finest venues in America with the best programs in the country. We didn’t get to defend our SEC title this past spring so it is fitting that the BCI, with a field of just league teams, will be our first event of 2020-21.”

Blessings general manager Richard Cromwell said he was pleased the event will showcase Northwest Arkansas and Blessings to a global audience.

“We are confident this men’s and women’s event will provide an exciting television viewing experience while also highlighting the incredible quality of young talent within the sport,” Cromwell said in a UA release. “We look forward to welcoming the SEC teams to Blessings Golf Club in October for this premier collegiate event.”

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