Could Sea Island Resort be the capital of golf in the country? Before you scoff, consider all the top courses, players and teachers that call it home. PGA Director of Golf Brannen Veal explains what makes this tranquil, beautiful island a mecca for some of golf's biggest names, and an ideal host for this week's McGladrey Classic.
PGA.com: Brannen, many golfers and golf fans know "of" Sea Island, but not that many really know it. Perhaps more should?
Veal: As a resort, Sea Island is consistently rated one of the best in the world. The Cloister, Lodge, our golf academy, all are five-star and offer the very best in service, amenities and of course, views. The Seaside Course is our crown jewel of golf courses, consistently rated as one of the top courses in the country - very playable and fun for all golfers and yet, one of the most scenic and challenging tests for the Tour players.
This is the second year of the McGladrey Classic, whose inaugural staging was won last year by Heath Slocum.
PGA.com: Speaking of the Tour players, the McGladrey has quickly gained a following among them as one of the most player-friendly events on Tour.
Veal: This is a family resort, we stay true to atmosphere even during the week of the McGladrey. For us, it's all about service. We strive for understated elegance. Here, a player can come relax and enjoy the resort with their family, spend some time at the beach, ride bikes, go to the spa, their families can go play golf, there's a number of fun options. Celebrities of all kinds come to Sea Island and know they can enjoy private time without being constantly interuppted. So yes, I think the players understand and appreciate it.
PGA.com: And it doesn't hurt that an unusually large number of players live on Sea Island.
Veal: It doesn't hurt at all. That's part of the appeal of Sea Island, the climate, the surroundings, the culture, it's just a great place. The very strong field here this week reflects the great pride these players feel in their home here. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Jonathan Byrd, Lucas Glover, Charles Howell; many great players live here. Many others spend significant amounts of time here. So yes, we have quite a hub of golf stars calling us home.
PGA.com: And your teaching facility isn't bad either. Your Director of Instruction, Todd Anderson, is the current PGA Teacher of the Year.
Veal: Our Sea Island Golf Academy is something we're all very proud of and of course, Todd Anderson is deservedly an outstanding Teacher of the Year. We actually have four teachers listed in Golf's Top 50 (Jack Lumpkin, Gale Peterson and Mike Shannon are the other three), another in the top 20 under 40 (Jared Zak), a top golf fitnees guru (Randy Myers) and Dr. Morris Pickens, the mental game coach for three major championship winners. So yes, we offer the complete package for golfers.
PGA.com: And your expectations for this week?
Veal: The weather looks like it will be ideal and the course is perfect. We already know we have a strong field, not sure what else you can ask for. I don't know who's going to win, but I know that fans here and watching on t.v. are in store for a great show.