FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM)–For the first time besides cross country or track and field, Arkansas is set to host the final round of an NCAA championship. That happens in may when men’s and women’s golf nationals come to The Blessings.
“It’s the best two weeks in golf hands down, and I’ll put it up against anything,” Golf Channel producer Brandt Packer said at a luncheon held on Tuesday to promote the event.
Just over a decade ago, no one could have conceived that a course in Fayetteville, Arkansas could host an event like this.
“My freshman year we went around Fayetteville and practiced at different golf courses,” said former Razorback Stacy Lewis, “and then had this my second year and it was a game changer for me.”
“I couldn’t have imagined back then this place being here, but it’s really special. And it has national recognition,” Lisa Cornwell, a Golf Channel host and former Arkansas player added.
Tickets to the NCAA championships will be free thanks to a donation by the Tyson Family. In addition, the winner of the women’s NCAA championship will receive a sponsor’s exemption to the LPGA Tour’s Northwest Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers and will be held in late June.
Last spring, Stillwater hosted the NCAA golf championships. And one simple phone call to Okalhoma State head coach Alan Bratton provided a strong message for Arkansas women’s coach Shauna Taylor.
“He said to me ‘what NFL team wouldn’t want to host a playoff game at home?’ And I was like wow that’s such a powerful thing cause you’re right. What an amazing opportunity and an advantage,” said Taylor.
Oklahoma State’s men won on their home course last year. Former Razorback Gaby Lopez thinks it can happen again, but with Arkansas.
“I’m actually very. very excited for [Razorback men’s coach] Brad [McMakin] and Shauna to have the best shot ever to win a national championship,” Lopez smiled.
The NCAA women’s championship is from May 17-22, while the men follow the week after between May 24 and 29.