MACON, Ga. (MERCER RELEASE) - After a seven-year run as one of collegiate golf's premier fall tournaments, Macon's Brickyard Collegiate Golf Championship will no longer continue after a cessation vote was approved by the tournament's committee last week.
The Championship was established in 2007 as a partnership between The Brickyard at Riverside and the Mercer University Men's Golf program. It was the tournament committees' vision to produce an elite golf tournament supported by the locality that also gave back to the Middle Georgia Community..
Each year, the course welcomed a swath of the nation's premier men's golf programs for competition, while raising funds for the Macon-Middle Georgia Golf for Kids Foundation. Proceeds to the foundation exceeded $70,000 in seven years, aiding in the completion and operation of a youth golf facility at Bowden Golf Course.
The quality of the tournament was indisputable, as evidenced by the success former participants have enjoyed on the PGA Tour. Just this season, three PGA Tour events were won by former participants of the Brickyard Collegiate Golf Championship. 2009 & 2010 Brickyard Champion Russell Henley (Georgia) won the Sony Open in Hawaii, 2007 Brickyard Champion Harris English (Georgia) won the FedEx St. Jude Classic, and Patrick Reed (GRU Augusta) won the Wyndham Championship. Other PGA Tour players and former Brickyard participants include, Ben Martin (Clemson), Kyle Stanley (Clemson), Jonas Blixt (Florida State), Brian Harman (Georgia), 2008 Brickyard Champion Cameron Tringale (Georgia Tech) Paul Haley (Georgia Tech), and Henrick Norlander (GRU Augusta).
Another outcome of the tournament was the improvement of the Mercer men's golf program, a result that proved mutually beneficial for both the committee and the university. Mercer's host status at the event opened the doors to better spring tournaments for the team – and this year's Brickyard Championship elevated the Bears to No. 26 nationally, the highest ranking for the team in program history.
Mercer's win also serves as a fitting end for the tournament, as the committee opted to discontinue the event after citing the rising cost of operation as the main contributor to the tournament's close.
"While we are sad that this has been our final tournament, we are proud of the success this tournament achieved and the wonderful memories from it," said Brickyard at Riverside Golf Club owner Alfred Sams Jr. in a letter to past Brickyard volunteers on Tuesday. "We want to thank all of our sponsors and volunteers for believing in, and providing such strong financial support and many volunteer hours to achieve this tournament success."