The Islands of The Bahamas once again captivated millions of spectators as 132 professional golfers from around the world duked it out for the first ever Bahamas Great Exuma Classic.
The event, which kicked off the Professional Golf Association’s (PGA) 2017 Web.com Tour, was held at Sandals Emerald Bay, Exuma January 8-11.
In the end, it was veteran Kyle Thompson who took home a prize of $108,000. It was his fifth time winning a Web.com tournament.
He was followed by Andrew Yun and Nicholas Thompson who both took home prizes of $52,800.
At the award ceremony, Kyle Thompson said it was his first time to The Bahamas, but it certainly would not be his last.
“Every time I met someone I felt welcomed. It is the most beautiful place I have ever went to. I have travelled the world to play gold. I have seen a lot of nice spots, but there is not a beach in the world that could compare to what I have seen. It is just so beautiful,” he said.
“This was my first trip to The Bahamas, but I can’t wait to come back. ”
Vice President of PGA Tour’s Rules and Regulations Jim Dunken said he fell in love with Bahamians.
“We are from America but every person on this island made us feel like we were at home. You are some of the nicest people that I have ever met,” he said.
Brooks Downing, president and founder of BDGlobal Sports, said the company saw the need to “take over Exuma.”
“This is the first stop for persons wanting to make the PGA Tour. This is the first stop for the season. For The Bahamas, it puts The Bahamas on a marketing platform like it’s never had. It builds up the brand of Golf in The Bahamas. Everyone knows Nassau but this is a chance for us to showcase the Family Islands and the true Bahamas. The players are happy to be here. They are in love with The Bahamas,” he said.
Golf Marketing Manager in the Ministry of Tourism Angelika Cartwright said The Bahamas received priceless marketing from this event.
“We are showing the world that we are able to host professional events like this. We are showing the world that we are more than just sun, sand and sea. We are diverse just as our islands are diverse,” she said.
“The goal of the Minister of Tourism is to make sure that The Bahamas is the top golf destination in the region. We want when people think of the Caribbean, they think golf – they think The Bahamas.”
The PGA Web.com Tour comes on the heels of Tiger Woods’ Hero World Challenge, which was held at Albany, New Providence in December.
The annual event saw the return of Tiger Woods after a 16-month hiatus.
On January 22-25, the Web.com Tour will head to Abaco for the Bahamas Great Abaco Classic at the Abaco Club.
Just a few days later, on January 23-29, the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Tour will be held at Ocean Club, Paradise Island.