SMITHFIELD, RI—PGA Tour history could be made when the CVS Health Charity Classic is held on June 24 at Rhode Island Country Club. It all depends on how Keegan Bradley plays, along with his partners, Billy Andrade and Brooke Henderson.
The ball for this 21st annual tournament, Rhode Island’s largest charity sporting event, got rolling on Monday with a press conference at R.I. Special Olympics headquarters, one of the tournament charities. Co-host Brad Faxon made it a point to say how there would be something special on the line with Bradley returning.
The former Massachusetts resident won the event in 2015 and 2016 when his high school teammate, Jon Curran, was his partner. The event changed formats in 2017–it now has three-player teams with one representative from the PGA, LPGA and Champions Tour playing together, and Bradley won in both 2017 and 20818 with co-host Andrade and Henderson as his partners.
Faxon pointed out that only two players in PGA history have won the same event at least four times in a row. Walter Hagen did it in the PGA from 1924-27 and Tiger Woods did it twice, with the Buick Invitational (2005-08) and Bay Hill (2000-03).
Faxon was working without Andrade at the press conference because Andrade was still in Alabama, finishing play in the rain-delayed Regions Tradition, the first Champions major of the year. Andrade made it pay off when he finished at 12-under 276 and tied for second behind former CVS Champion Steve Stricker.
The CVS Health will continue with its latest format that has six teams competing over 18 holes with the two best scores among the three players determining the team total. “Having it in one day makes it easier for us to attract some of the top players,’’ Faxon said.
Only part of this year’s field for June 24th was announced with the first-timers being Darren Clarke, who recently turned 50 and joined the Champions Tour and Max Homa, who earlier this month won the Wells Fargo Championship.
Others set to return include LPGA Star Lydia Ko, Morgan Pressel and Billy Horschel.
The event, which has raised more than $22 million for area charities in its first 20 years, will include Crave Rhode Island, a food festival now in its third year in conjunction with the CVS. That will be held June 20-21 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. Tickets for that event and the golf tournament are on sale at www.CVSHealthCharityClassic.com.
Paul Kenyon is the retired sports writer for the Providence Journal who writes a R.I. Notebook column in each issue of Southern New England Golfer.
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