I love to watch the professionals play golf, especially in person. If you are a golfer, you’ll want to attend the CJ Cup Oct. 20-23 at The Congaree Golf Club in Ridgeland.
This club is unique for this section of South Carolina. Congaree is a Tom Fazio design that has wide open fairways with sand dividing holes and ancient live oaks surrounding the fairways.
Fazio designed the course to look like courses in Australia’s Sandbelt.
Congaree officially opened in 2018 and was named the best new private course by Golf Digest in 2018. It is now ranked No. 39 on the prestigious list of America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses.
The CJ Cup was launched in 2017 as Korea’s first official PGA Tour event. It was played in Korea for three consecutive years at Nine Bridges Golf Course before having to relocate to the U.S. because of COVID. It was played in Las Vegas the past two years.
This will be the first time the CJ Cup will be played in the Southeast region of the United States. Rory McIlroy is the defending champion after winning the CJ Cup last year en route to his record third Fed Ex Cup title. He is the No. 2 ranked player in the world.
“This will be my first time beginning a PGA Tour season with a title defense,” McIlroy said. “I am really looking forward to seeing what Congaree is all about. From the design of the golf course to the overall player experience, everything I have heard about it from those who played the tournament in 2021 was overwhelmingly positive.”
The CJ cup will feature a 78-man field that includes five players designated by the Korea Professional Golfers’ Association, as well as the top three available players of Koran nationality from the Official World Golf Ranking. The remainder of the field will be made up of the leading players from the Fed Ex Cup points list and sponsor exemptions.
Only in person can you really appreciate the players and the golf course. You can see elevation changes, the slope on the greens, the many sculptured bunkers, the importance of hitting the fairways, and the length of the rough.
Also seeing the players in person is a fun experience. Most of the players look much smaller in person. McIlroy is only 5-foot-9 and 161 pounds. Watching him hit a driver 330 yards is remarkable.
My advice for watching the tournament: Find a spot on the course where you can watch several holes. Watch golfers approach a green and putt and then watch the players tee off the next hole. I enjoy standing above the fourth green and watching the difficulty of the chips and putts. From there, you can watch the tee shots to the par 3 fifth hole.
There are two fan zones. One is located on the front nine, from which spectators will be able to walk to the fifth green, eighth fairway or sixth green to take in some great golf views. From the fan zone on the back nine, spectators can head to the first green, second tee, 17th green or 18th fairway and green.
These fan zones will feature food and beverage offerings from Bibigo, the food division of the CJ Group.
On your way out of the tournament stop by the PGA Tour Fan Shop to buy exclusive CJ Cup and Congaree gear, including pin flags, golf balls, hats and more.
Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional and teaches at local golf courses. firstname.lastname@example.org; golfdoctorjean.com