Golf County: U.S. Women’s Open and Regions Tradition both next month

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

Come May, Shelby County will be consumed by golf as both the U.S. Women’s Open and Regions Tradition will make their way to the area for two major championship events separated by five miles and 11 days.

It’s an exciting time not just for Shelby County, but a golf rich area that has wondered why the state of Alabama doesn’t host more important golf tournaments at the professional level—specifically on the PGA Tour level—with the amount of championship-level courses in the area.

The Regions Tradition, at one point known as the Bruno’s Memorial Classic, has become an annual event since 1992 and has alternated between Greystone Golf and Country Club and Shoal Creek Golf Club.

This year, both courses will play host to major-championship golf when the Regions returns to Greystone May 16-20, and the U.S. Women’s Open comes to Shoal Creek May 31 through June 3.

Ranked as the best golf course in Alabama by GolfDigest, Shoal Creek is a Jack Nicklaus designed course that will be hosting its third USGA event in the club’s history as well as two other PGA major championships.

In 1984 and 1990, Shoal Creek played host to the PGA Championship, while the course has also hosted the 1986 U.S. Amateur and the 2008 U.S. Junior Amateur before the Regions Tradition returned to the course from 2011-2015.

Not many expected major golf to return to the area for some time after controversy at the 1990 PGA Championship, but strides have since been made and one of the country’s best courses is now on the path to seeing great golf in the foothills of Oak Mountain again.

In 2018, the world’s best women golfers will head to the course in hopes of winning the second major of the golf season. Players will include Americans such as Lexi Thompson, Cristie Kerr, Michelle Wie and Jessica Korda, while other notables such as World No. 1 Shanshan Feng, Inbee Park, Sung Hyun Park and Anna Nordqvist will be in attendance as well.

It marks the biggest golf event in the area in close to 20 years, which creates for an exciting time, but players also have a nice warmup to the national championship with the return of some of the greatest Champions Tour golfers.

The Regions Tradition will feature the normal celebrity pro-am on Wednesday, May 16, with names like Nick Saban, Gus Malzahn, Kirby Smart, Bo Jackson, Laura Rutledge, Derek Mason and Condoleeza Rice in attendance.

That will lead into the tournament featuring two-time defending champ Bernhard Langer, as well as John Daly, Fred Funk, Vijay Singh, Steve Stricker, Miguel Angel Jimenez and many others.

It’s a chance for fans to see some of the world’s best golfers at any level in a two-week span.

For tickets to the Regions Tradition visit Regionstradition.com/buy-tickets.php, and for tickets to the 73rd U.S. Women’s Open visit Cuetoems.com/uswo_2018/Tickets.aspx.