Why Knoxville almost lost its premier golf event

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT)-- The long-running Knoxville Open is moving to a new location and it's getting a new name, too. It's a new beginning for one of the charter tournaments on what used to be the Web.com Tour. The tourney, which is part of what is now the Korn Ferry Tour will now be called the Visit Knoxville Open.

Yes, East Tennessee's premier golf event has a new title sponsor and it has a new home after 21 years at the Fox Den Country Club. The tournament is moving across town to the Holston Hills Country Club where it will take place beginning next May. Despite being a charter event on tour, Knoxville was in danger of losing its long running tourney. Tournament Director Patrick Nichols told WVLT Sports, "We haven't had a title sponsor in the last two years and it's a very key ingredient in order for the tournament to be financially successful. I love the model that we have moving forward and I couldn't be happier with Visit Knoxville."

While Holston Hills is one of the best courses in the state, parking and getting fans to and from the course could present a logistical problem. Visit Knoxville's Kim Bumpas says, "I think that's something that we all have to work together as a team. We are so close to Downtown and other places for people to park in this area that I think we can get real creative with shuttling and how we engage the community and get people out here."

There's been talk about shuttling fans from Zoo Knoxville or as Kim mentioned from downtown.

It's a five year deal with Holston Hills running through 2024 and hopefully beyond. Again, as has been the case the past couple years, the tournament will continue to be played in May, the 14th through the 17th to be exact.