‘Barracuda was sort of the springboard I needed:’ Reigning Barracuda Championship winner on what title meant to career
With the PGA Championship scheduled to tee off next week, last year’s winner of the area’s only PGA stop, the Barracuda Championship, gave his thoughts on capturing his first PGA win and what it’s meant to his career.
South African player Erik van Rooyen had a record-setting performance last year at Tahoe Mountain Club’s Old Greenwood golf course, firing a 50 using the Modified Stableford scoring format. He then went on to qualify for the FedEx Cup Playoffs and played for the TOUR Championship. That performance earned him an exemption into golf’s four major tournaments.
“It did a lot for me career-wise,” said Rooyen. “Barracuda was sort of the springboard I needed … it was just such a big turnaround for me. I wasn’t playing great golf leading up to the Barracuda and for things to come together there was truly just perfect timing.
“To win the Barracuda at that point of the season with my back against the wall, I mean, I took tremendous confidence from that.”
Instead of defending his title, Rooyen will be playing for a major title at The Open Championship at St. Andrews, providing an example for what a win at an event like the Barracuda Championship can do for the career of a professional golfer.
“It’s bittersweet because I won’t be able to play the Barracuda this year and defend, but I will be able to play the British Open at St. Andrews,” said Rooyen.
Old Greenwood will host the 24th Barracuda Championship, marking the third time the course has hosted the tournament. The Barracuda Championship is scheduled for July 14 to 17 at Old Greenwood’s par-72, 7,518-yard course. Parking and daily grounds tickets, starting at $35, must be purchased in advance. No onsite ticket purchases will be available. A limited number of military members and first responders with proper verification will receive complimentary tickets to the tournament on Thursday, July 14.
The tournament is the only one in the PGA to use the Modified Stableford scoring format, which, rather than counting strokes, involves scoring points based on the number of strokes taken at each hole. The purse for the tournament is $3.7 million. Last year’s winner took home $630,000 of a $3.5 million purse.
“I’m not too much of a splurger,” said Rooyen on the prize money from winning last year’s Barracuda Championship. “I’ve got some guitars hanging the wall, but that’s just a hobby of mine. I don’t buy any fancy cars or anything like that. I’ve also got a wife that keeps me in line … but definitely a lovely paycheck.”
For more information on the Barracuda Championship or to purchase tickets, visit http://www.BarracudaChampionship.com.
Justin Scacco is a staff writer with the Sierra Sun. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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