The tournament, which has traditionally been played at Elizabethton Golf Course over the Fourth of July weekend, will be held June 26-28 this year.
“Some of the players have talked about spending time with their families over the holiday weekend,” tournament director Mike Matheson said Monday. “The last few years I’ve probably had 10 to 15 people saying they can’t get off of work or they want to spend time with their families. A lot of people have young kids now and they just don’t want to take the entire holiday weekend off. We’ve talked about this for the past couple of years. We were reluctant to do it but we decided to make the change this year.”
Participation in the tournament, officially called the William B. Greene Jr. East Tennessee Amateur since last year, has gone down the past few years, but it continues to draw the biggest field of any tournament in Northeast Tennessee. Competition with other tournaments over the same weekend also hurt, and that was another factor in deciding to switch dates.
“That was costing us some of the better players,” Matheson said. “Our championship field is always pretty good. There’s always a senior event that week in Knoxville. Some of the Knoxville players, who are some our best senior players, wanted to stay in their hometown.”
Tyler Lane of Knoxville is the two-time defending champion. The new date will put the tournament a week after the Link Hills Invitational, set for June 20-21 in Greeneville.
“We made sure we weren’t getting on top of anybody,” Matheson said. “We didn’t want to interfere with any other tournaments. We just wanted to get the word out so people can make plans.”