Golf is steeped in history, much of it surrounding the accomplishments of players on the major professional tours, but the competitive game has its roots in tournaments away from the bright lights of network television.
Events like the 58th annual Riviera Open, for instance.
America’s longest running mini-tour event, the Riviera Open, is played every December at historic Riviera Country Club, one of Central Florida’s most popular layouts. The Golf Channel won’t be on hand to cover the tournament, but one of the game’s rising young stars might be playing.
The venerable “Riv” has long tested aspiring stars and players looking to stay sharp in Daytona Beach with the new year on the horizon. While the Riviera Open won’t be the confused with the Genesis Open, a PGA Tour event played in California at the “other” Riviera Country Club, its list of past champions includes names golf fans will recognize.
Among the Riviera Open’s victors are PGA Tour winners Morris Hatalsky, Bert Yancey and Billy Hurley, and PGA Tour rules official Slugger White. Daytona Beach native and current PGA Tour player Matt Every, a three-time runner-up, will be back in 2018 trying to claim his first Riviera Open.
A significant part of the event’s appeal is its host. Riviera Country Club is one of Central Florida’s gems. The old-school layout is a treat to play, rewarding shot-making as opposed to raw power.
The layout isn’t long, playing just 6,300 yards from the tips, but that has been enough to test professional golfers for nearly six decades. Riviera is the perfect combination of challenge and charm, and that’s a primary reason players, who have competitive options throughout the state, continue to return to the event.
“The course, owned since it opened in 1953 by the Meyers family, is practically everything an everyday, local-treasure golf course should be,” Golf Channel’s Tim Gavrich wrote of Riviera.
That treasure will again test professionals hoping for an early Christmas present in the form of a $5,000 check for the winner
With crisp mornings and warm afternoon sunshine, Daytona Beach is the perfect place to hit the fairways this winter. More information about a variety of stay-and-play packages suited for every group size and skill level is available at DaytonaBeach.golf