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Friday, May 6, 2016

A Legendary return

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

One of the things that really stood out about last year's Horseshoe Bend Invitational Tournament happened on the first day, long before the Pro-Am event ever got underway.

Kathy Whitworth, one of the greatest winners in the history of golf, was taking part in a putting challenge on the green right outside the Pro Shop at The Course on Turkey Mountain.

After making her way around the putting course, setting a score for those lined up behind her to beat, all Whitworth had to do was go inside the clubhouse, or upstairs to The Loft, and sit back and relax. Her work was done.

But that's not what Kathy Whitworth did.

Instead of vanishing into the cool, air-conditioned comforts that awaited inside, Whitworth remained at the putting green, laughing, chatting and even giving those that were trying to top her score a few impromptu putting lessons.

That is one reason why The Legends Tour and its players are so remarkable.

They get it.

They understand what the game of golf has provided for them over the years and they are thankful for it.

And the way they are showing their gratitude is by playing in events like the Horseshoe Bend Invitational and helping to raise money for Arkansas Children's Hospital.

The Legends Tour players absolutely love to interact with the gallery and will even stop and sign autographs as they make their way around the course.

That's something that you don't see many professional athletes doing these days, let alone Hall of Famers like those on the Legends Tour.

And luckily for us, we get another chance to see stars like Whitworth, Sandra Haynie, Jane Blalock, Cindy Figg-Currier and Cindy Miller up close and personal again.

The second-annual Horseshoe Bend Invitational is scheduled for Sept. 26-27, once again at Turkey Mountain, and once again with all proceeds benefiting Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock.

Just like last year, there will be a putting challenge, a Legends Golf Clinic and a Pro-Am Golf Tournament.

Last year's tournament in Horseshoe Bend was the first time that many of The Legends Tour players had ever made their way to north central Arkansas.

And judging by the comments they made after the Pro-Am wrapped up, they couldn't wait to get back.

And now, the wait is almost over.

But more than just a flash-in-the-pan, the Horseshoe Bend Invitational and The Legends Tour are two years into a five-year agreement, and by the way things are shaping up, year number two promises to be bigger and better than ever.

"We do want to continue to grow this on a yearly basis," said Tournament Director and Turkey Mountain PGA Pro Chuck McNeight. "And The Legends Tour has made a five-year commitment to us. Our ultimate goal is to raise as much money as we possibly can for Arkansas Children's Hospital. That's what this is really all about."

Count Legends Tour President, founder and former LPGA standout Jane Blalock as being duly impressed with the way the entire north central Arkansas community has embraced The Legends players.

"We are encouraged by the commitment of the local supporters and are excited to build and grow a viable event in their neck of the woods," she said.

General admission tickets are $5 each and can be purchased at the golf course Sept. 26-27.

That's a mere pittance indeed, to be able to rub shoulders with the legendary names of The Legends Tour.

But the weekend has more than just golf to offer.

Music in the Mountains has a special show planned for that weekend at the Horseshoe Bend Theatre.

And the now-famous Horseshoe Bend Potato Shoot is scheduled to take place Sept. 26 at the driving range on Turkey Mountain, starting at 10 a.m.

If you've never seen a spud go flying out of a PVC tube with rocket force, now's the chance.

For more information about the Horseshoe Bend Invitational, or to make a donation to Arkansas Children's Hospital, call McNeight at 870-670-5252, or e-mail proshop@turkeymtngc.com.

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