After a year off because of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Watson Challenge — hosted by and featuring Kansas City native and eight-time PGA Tour major winner Tom Watson — returns Thursday at The National Golf Club of Kansas City in Parkville.
First postponed, then canceled outright due to coronavirus concerns in 2020, The Watson Challenge is back and will include the tournament’s namesake, who pulled out of last year’s event (because of scheduled shoulder surgery) before it was shelved.
A member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, Watson, 71, is aiming to win the tournament for a sixth time. He’ll be teeing off for his opening round at 8:30 a.m. Thursday.
Watson will be part of a field of 49 local amateurs and professionals vying to win the event he created in 2007 to determine the best golfer in the Kansas City area.
The reigning champion — 2019 winner Alex Springer of Overland Park — is also back in the field, having come off a tied-for-30th finish in the recent AdventHealth Championship at Blue Hills Country Club, a Korn Ferry Tour event through which players can earn a PGA Tour card.
Fellow past winners Andy Spencer of Prairie Village and Rob Wilkin of Overland Park will also be in the mix.
The National, a private course designed by Watson himself, is a par-72 track capped by a massive 577-yard par-5 on the 18th hole. The first golfers of the event tee off at 7:20 a.m. Thursday.