Our first professional mixed-team competition was in 1977, and since 2000 we have been a full field PGA TOUR event. When our tournament was played in the fall, Vijay Singh, Retief Goosen (twice) and K.J. Choi (twice) were among our winners. Since joining the Florida Swing in the spring of 2007, Mark Calcavecchia, Sean O’Hair, Jim Furyk, Gary Woodland and Luke Donald have triumphed.
During the course of our 34-year history many of the great stars in men’s and ladies’ golf have appeared in our events – Arnold Palmer, Annika Sorenstam, Davis Love III, Tiger Woods, Beth Daniel, Curtis Strange, Ernie Els, Justin Leonard, Jose Maria Olazabal, Nancy Lopez, Phil Mickelson and many, many more.
The members of The Copperheads are Tampa Bay area community and business leaders with a two-fold reason for existing. One is to provide the golf fans of the area with a first-class professional golf tournament and the other is to raise funds for area charities. In the last five years we have been able to raise more than $9 million for area charities to push our total since 1977 to almost $30 million. More than 50 Tampa Bay area charities actively participate in the Tampa Bay Championship through Birdies for Tampa Bay Charities. This is a grass roots fundraising program designed to give all 501(c)(3) charities an opportunity to raise money for their organizations based on the number of “birdies” made by contestants during the tournament.
None of this would be possible without the efforts of our excellent tournament staff, our Copperheads membership and their Board of Directors, our 1500 volunteers and our community of golf enthusiasts supporting the event through sponsorships and ticket sales.