The Loop

Legends Of Golf Goes To Team Format

December 03, 2007

Great news out of Georgia today with the official announcement that the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf will be a two-man team event in 2008 contested for official money and counting as an official victory.

Expect between 35 and 42 duos playing in the better-ball Legends division April 25-27 at Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa, said Champions Tour president Rick George. "To make it a team format with official money and official win [status] is significant," George said this afternoon. "We've talked about making the change since 2003, and the last 16 months it was discussed a lot among our players. I think there will be more enthusiasm for the event now."

The Legends, of course, was the event that spawned the senior tour with exciting competitions in 1978 and 1979 at Onion Creek CC in Austin, Texas. It remained an unofficial team event through 1992, was an unofficial individual competition in 1993, and went back to being an unofficial better-ball event from 1994 through 2001 prior to becoming an individual event with official status in 2002.

In the end, the sponsor's desire to return to the tournament to its roots coupled with players' interest in a break from routine solo stroke play overruled concerns from some golfers that a team competition could tilt the money list unfairly.

The last couple of years, Tom Watson chose to play with old friend Andy North in the unofficial Rahael division that ended on Saturday. In 2007 Johnny Miller made a rare tournament appearance paired with Mike Reid.

"To me, it's a win-win situation," said Hall of Famer Larry Nelson, who expects to team with Jim Thorpe. "The sponsor has been wanting this and the players were ready for something different, too. This event is what made our tour, period."

--Bill Fields