Boeing Classic enters fifth year in Seattle

SNOQUALMIE, Wash. (AP) — Mike Reid forgot how good just a couple of words from his peers sounded.

The words “great playing,” came from every direction after Reid’s win at The Tradition last weekend.

“I don’t think I knew how much I had missed hearing my peers, my friends say (that),” Reid said on Thursday before the start of the Boeing Classic. “It’s been a while since I’ve heard that.”

It’s been a whirlwind last few days for Reid, who thanks to his second major victory on the Champions Tour didn’t have to spend the early part of this week going through qualifying for the Boeing Classic.

Instead of worrying about just having a spot on the Champions Tour next year, Reid now has the comfort of a one-year exemption. No more Monday qualifiers. No more concerns about his place on the money list or any worries about needing to go back to qualifying school.

Reid even spent part of Thursday over at Sahalee Country Club in nearby Sammamish, which just happens to be the home of next year’s U.S. Senior Open, yet another worry cast aside by Reid’s playoff victory over John Cook last weekend in Sunriver, Ore.

Reid shot a final-round 70 to get into the playoff with Cook, then sank a 12-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole for his first Champions Tour victory since winning the Senior PGA Championship in 2005.

“I’m just very grateful to be out here, and play, and be part of this tour and be playing,” Reid said. “But it was awfully nice to not have to worry about (qualifiers) for a while.”

Reid is one of a handful of Champions Tour players who have made the trip to the Seattle area a yearly visit since professional golf returned to the region in 2005. Players rave about the mild summer temperatures, clear air and mountain views littering all corners of the TPC Snoqualmie Ridge layout about 30 miles east of downtown Seattle.

But while the Boeing Classic has entrenched itself as a late summer fixture in the Seattle area and a favorite of the players, it’ll have some competition a year from now.

Major golf will return to the Puget Sound region in a big way next summer. The U.S. Senior Open will be played July 28-Aug. 1 at Sahalee Country Club, the same course that hosted the 1998 PGA Championship and a World Golf Championship event in 2002.

A month later, the U.S. Amateur will be played at Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash. about 35 miles southeast of Seattle. It’s a precursor to the 2015 U.S. Open that will also be played at the public, county-owned course on the shores of Puget Sound.

The Amateur is scheduled to be played Aug. 23-29, 2010. Interim Boeing Classic tournament director Michelle DeLancy said there was some examination in putting the Senior Open and Boeing Classic on consecutive weeks since players will already be in the area, but the plan is to keep the Boeing Classic toward the end of August, potentially going head-to-head with the Amateur.

“The tour does a really good job making the schedule so we have some breaks in between there that you don’t play too much. Most of the guys out here have a tough time playing three weeks in a row, for whatever reason,” Nick Price said. “They’ve done a really good job scheduling our tournaments so we have two weeks and we don’t clash with the regular tour and their major championships. Most of us are so happy to be out here we’ll just go with whatever they tell us.”

The formal Champions Tour schedule will be announced later in the year, although the Boeing Classic could announce its 2010 dates this weekend. DeLancy said it will remain the week after The Tradition played in Central Oregon.

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