BRADENTON, Fla. — Three-time U.S. Women’s Open champion Hollis Stacy hit the ceremonial first tee shot on Thursday morning at the LPGA Drive On Championship in Bradenton, Fla. The 18-time LPGA Tour winner is a member at Bradenton Country Club, this year’s tournament host, and is elated to have the Tour swing by her home club for their second event of the 2024 season.
“It’s special. I love the LPGA,” said Stacy. “It's nice that they're coming to a place that wants them and that is treating them well. They're playing a Donald Ross course that's known throughout this part of the United States. It's great. To have it televised is wonderful. I'm happy for the players. I'm happy for the club. I'm happy for the members.”
Having been a member of Bradenton Country Club for over a decade, Stacy knows better than anyone what challenges the 120 players in the field will face this week on the Donald Ross design. A ball-striker’s golf course, the club features heavily sloping, undulated greens that Stacy says can be speedy and difficult even for the most well-practiced of locals.
“The members are really excited, like myself. I'm very excited,” said Stacy. “The course is in fabulous shape. Jackson Edwards has done a great job getting it in shape in spite of El Niño. I think it'll prove to be a great challenge for the players. It's a ball-striker’s course, and the greens are very tricky. You have to drive it and hit it close and know the greens and not blow up when you three-putt.”
Joining the LPGA Tour in 1974, Stacy has witnessed first-hand the extensive growth the organization has gone through over the years. But it isn’t shocking for the Hall of Famer to see how far the Tour has come since she played full-time. “I'm not surprised,” said Stacy when asked how proud she is of what the Tour has become. “It's a great product. The LPGA is strong, and it's what is good about golf. I'm very proud of them.”
And now Stacy has a front-row seat to see that success up close and personally as the LPGA Tour crowns another 2024 champion this week at the LPGA Drive On Championship at Bradenton Country Club.