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Payne’s Valley opening pushed back

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Last edited 1:26 p.m., March 1, 2019

Famed golfer Tiger Woods’ golf course in partnership with Bass Pro Shops and Big Cedar Lodge founder Johnny Morris has been pushed back a year.

Dubbed Payne’s Valley, in honor of Springfield native Payne Stewart, the 19-hole course is located between Morris’ Buffalo Ridge Springs Golf Course and a new Gary Player par-3 course at Top of the Rock.

The announcement made in spring 2017 targeted a 2019 opening date. Big Cedar Public Relations Manager Janet Glaser said the course will now open in 2020, but she declined to disclose a reason for the delay.

Bass Pro spokesman Jack Wlezien said the course would open for private preview play as early as this summer.

Speaking at Buffalo Ridge two years ago, Woods said he wanted to be part of the Big Cedar project because Morris and staff “created an environment here.”

“You know how hard it is for people to leave their cellphones for five minutes?” Woods asked at a live-streamed news conference. “When it comes down to it, you want to work with the people you want to work with. Johnny and I go way back.”

At the announcement, officials said Payne’s Valley would be the first public-access golf course designed by Woods’ firm, TGR Design. They touted a 19th hole, dubbed The Rock, set in a geological feature where players walk through a cavern system to return to the clubhouse.

The friendship between Woods and Morris began more than 20 years ago, according to a news release.

“Shortly after Tiger won his first Masters Tournament in 1997, Tiger actually ended up buying one of our Bass Tracker fishing boats. My son and I had the opportunity to deliver his boat and spend the day bass fishing with him,” Morris said, in the release. “You really get to know a person when you’re able to spend quiet time on the water fishing together.”

Payne’s Valley also is designed with a par-3 concept for children.

“It’s going to be something we think is really going to get a lot of people excited about golf,” Morris said. “It’s going to be like putt-putt on steroids.”


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