HOOVER, Ala. (WIAT) — A year after the COVID-19 pandemic twice forced its cancellation, the Regions Tradition is back, and organizers say there’s a lot of enthusiasm surrounding its return.
The annual golf tournament takes place Wednesday through Sunday this week at Greystone Golf & Country Club. It draws thousands of golf fans to the area each year, and it may be even more popular this year after fans missed the chance to attend last year.
“There’s a real pent-up demand for this year’s tournament,” said Gene Hallman, president and CEO of Bruno Event Team, which manages the event. “We see it across the board. People are really anxious to get back to live sporting events.”
Greystone won’t be as packed as usual with attendance limited to 60-70% of typical capacity to give fans room to spread out. Organizers also chose not to set up grandstands or closed-in hospitality tents. They’re asking patrons to wear masks and practice social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“We’ve worked very hard with public health to make sure we devised a very safe plan, so all spectators should feel very safe about coming to the Regions Tradition,” Hallman said.
The tournament’s return also is a big deal for businesses near Greystone, which cater to the many fans that fill the area during the event each year.
“All the hotels up and down 280 will be full,” Hallman said. “We’ll have a nationally televised golf audience watching the tournament all four rounds.”
The tournament kicks off Wednesday with the Celebrity Pro-Am. Alabama head football coach Nick Saban and Auburn head football coach Bryan Harsin are expected to participate. Charles Barkley will also be playing for the first time since 2014.
The PGA Tour Champions event runs Thursday through Sunday and features a field that includes eight members of the World Golf Hall of Fame.