The Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance announced a five-year partnership with French Lick Resort to, beginning with the 2024 playing of the event, host the Korn Ferry Tour’s annual season-ending tournament and the hallowed PGA TOUR Card Ceremony at the Pete Dye Course through at least 2028.
The partnership was publicly announced Tuesday afternoon during a press conference at the headquarters of Evansville, Indiana-based United Leasing & Finance, an official sponsor of Korn Ferry Tour events since 2012.
“We are looking forward to our partnership with French Lick Resort and working with their team of great people,” said United Leasing & Finance Executive Chairman Ronald D. Romain. “While we have certainly enjoyed our years at Victoria National, I am very pleased and excited to announce this new partnership with Steve Ferguson, Joseph Vezzoso, and Dave Harner from the French Lick Resort organization. The Pete Dye Course is a world-class venue, and I am anxious to see how Korn Ferry Tour players navigate their way around this difficult golf course.
“Likewise, I want to express my appreciation for our continuing and longstanding relationship with the PGA TOUR. It is as strong as ever. [Korn Ferry Tour President] Alex Baldwin and her team of professionals are outstanding and help ensure the success of our tournament.”
French Lick Resort is home to two championship golf courses – The Pete Dye Course and The Donald Ross Course. The Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance will be contested on The Pete Dye Course at French Lick, best known for hosting the 2015 Senior PGA Championship.
Originally conceived as a sketch on a napkin at a nearby restaurant before World Golf Hall of Fame inductee Pete Dye carved it into the hilltops of southern Indiana, the course measures 8,102 yards from the professional tees. The Pete Dye Course sits on one of Indiana’s highest elevation points, providing 40-mile panoramic views of the southern Indiana countryside, and features a variety of elevation changes, narrow fairways, and rugged, intense terrain. Trouble also lurks in the form of three man-made lakes and “volcano” bunkers.
“It’s truly a thrill for French Lick Resort to be the new home of the Korn Ferry Tour’s seasonending tournament and PGA TOUR Card Ceremony,” said Joe Vezzoso, Vice President of Sales at French Lick Resort, a destination consisting of three grand hotels – two of which are on the National Register of Historic Places – two world-class spas, resort-style gaming, horseback riding, activities for children, and 169,000 square feet of meeting space. “To continue hosting this tournament in southern Indiana is a major point of pride for our resort and community.
“Our brand of Hoosier hospitality is second to none, and we’re eager for both the golfers and fans to experience our beautiful historic hotels and award-winning Pete Dye Course. We’re already excited for 2024 and the opportunity to welcome the Korn Ferry Tour to French Lick Resort in the coming years.”
The Pete Dye Course at French Lick was named Best New Public Course by Golf Digest in 2009, as well as the 2017 Jemsek National Course of the Year by the National Golf Course Owners Association. The course was also No. 19 on the most recent edition of Golf Digest’s ranking of America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses.
“We are so proud to partner with United Leasing & Finance to bring the Korn Ferry Tour’s premier event to The Pete Dye Course,” said Dave Harner, Director of Golf at French Lick Resort. “We have hosted scores of championship golf events in the last 13 years, and partnering with the Korn Ferry Tour brings us to the next level of championship golf. Without fail, The Pete Dye Course stands its own against even the greatest players. The challenges are unique, and the winner of this event will be the player who is patient, accurate, and has every kind of shot in their arsenal.”
The tournament remaining in southern Indiana ensures Golf Gives Back, a non-profit organization aimed at generating substantial charitable and economic impact and promoting positive brand awareness for communities in southern Indiana, will continue to be the host organization for the Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance. Since 2012, Golf Gives Back donated over $2.2 million to regional charitable organizations, including its signature charity for net tournament proceeds, Building Blocks, which funds early childhood education for disadvantaged families across 28 counties in southern Indiana.
The Korn Ferry Tour announced several changes last June which were implemented this season, with the most notable among them being the increase from 25 to 30 PGA TOUR cards awarded via the season-long Korn Ferry Tour Points List, and the reimagining of the Korn Ferry Tour Finals.
In the newly implemented system, the Korn Ferry Tour Finals serve as the final four tournaments of the 26-event season, which will see players compete for elevated purses ($1.5 million compared to $1 million for the preceding 22 events) and points allocations (600 points to the winner compared to 500 points for the preceding 22 events). The first of the four Finals events will fill its 156-player field from the Korn Ferry Tour Points List in descending order. Fields for the second and third Finals events will be 144 and 120 players, respectively.
The Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance will continue to be the final tournament of both the Korn Ferry Tour Finals and Korn Ferry Tour season, but will now be a competition reserved for the top 75 players on the Korn Ferry Tour Points List. The 75-player field will not be subject to a 36-hole cut.
At the conclusion of the Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance, PGA TOUR cards will be awarded to the top 30 players on the Korn Ferry Tour Points List.
Last year’s season-ending PGA TOUR Card Ceremony was broadcast live on Peacock.
“We are incredibly excited for the future of the Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance as it moves to The Pete Dye Course at French Lick,” said Korn Ferry Tour President Alex Baldwin. “Adding a demanding, championship-caliber golf course to our schedule, especially for our season-ending event, ensures the top-performing players on the Korn Ferry Tour will be put to the test as they compete to earn PGA TOUR membership. We are very appreciative of Victoria National Golf Club’s hospitality over the last decade, and we are thrilled for what the future holds at French Lick Resort.”
The 2023 Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance will be held October 5-8 at Victoria National Golf Club in Newburgh, Indiana. Victoria National has hosted a Korn Ferry Tour event annually since 2012.
In addition to the three preceding Finals events this year, along with the 2023 BMW Charity ProAm presented by TD SYNNEX and 2023 Utah Championship presented by Zions Bank, all four rounds of the 2023 Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance will air on GOLF Channel.
Competition dates for the 2024 Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance, the first event of French Lick’s tenure as the host venue, will be announced following the 2023 Korn Ferry Tour season.