Sanderson Farms Championship will again be serving up the South’s main course of greens, birdies and sweet tea when Mississippi’s only professional golf tournament returns in November to the Country Club of Jackson.
The tournament, to be held November 2 – 8, will kick off with a series of special events for professional-amateur pairings, youth golfers and a Womens Day luncheon featuring Jenna Bush Hager. The Pro-Am tournament is Wednesday, November 4 with the first round play of PGA competition beginning at 6:45 on Thursday morning. The championship trophy presentation is scheduled for Sunday, November 8 at 3:30 p.m.
Founded in 1968 as the Magnolia Classic in Hattiesburg, the Sanderson Farms Championship is a hospitable and philanthropic showcase for the entire State of Mississippi.
“Last year was a historic year for the tournament,” said Steve Jent, the tournament’s executive director. In 2014, the tournament more than doubled the previous year’s donation record by raising more than $1.1 million for the Friends of Children’s Hospital to benefit Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children. “This significant amount indicates more than a record-breaking contribution by the tournament. It also indicates a new era for the Championship as a premier stop of the PGA Tour.”
Joe Sanderson, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Sanderson Farms, said the “primary reason this tournament exists” is to raise money for Batson and other Mississippi charities and non-profit organizations in the State.
“We set a goal to double the Championships donations to Friends of Children’s Hospital from last year to a million dollars, while also showing the players, sponsors, spectators, volunteers and the general public what first-class Southern hospitality looks like. We not only met our goal, but exceeded it.”
Tournament organizers estimate the financial impact on Mississippi is more than $25 million each year. The number includes the influx of golfers, volunteers and the thousands of visitors to travel to Jackson to participate in the tournament.
“We’re here to showcase the State of Mississippi,” Jent said.
As a professional tournament on the PGA Tour, the Sanderson Farms Championship has grown in attendance, participation and purse each year. In 2015, the tournament winner will receive a $720,000 winning share of the $4 million purse as well as 300 points toward the FedEx Cup. The tournament is expecting more professional golfers to hit the Jackson course this year than ever before.
Organizers point to volunteers and to Sanderson Farms employees as key to the tournament’s ongoing success.
“Without them, the tournament couldn’t happen,” Jent said.
Hilary Burroughs, director of marketing for Sanderson Farms, said the tournament also reflects the core values of the company’s founders. Sanderson Farms became title sponsor for the tournament in 2013 when the State was in jeopardy of losing the PGA franchise. Not wanting to risk losing the State’s showcase nor the fundraising venue for Batson, Sanderson committed the company through 2016.