By now everyone knows the bad news for the Constellation Furyk & Friends: defending champion Phil Mickelson won't be back, having made the decision to jump to the LIV Golf Series, resulting in his suspension from the PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions.
But that doesn't mean the $2 million event will be diminished.
Scheduled late in the stretch run of the Charles Schwab Cup race, there will be more than enough star power at the Timuquana Country Club Oct. 7-9, led by last week's winner Padraig Harrington, money leader Steven Alker, the runner-up to Mickelson last year, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Jacksonville native David Duval (who grew up playing at Timuquana) and World Golf Hall of Fame members Davis Love III, Bernhard Langer, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Colin Montgomerie, Vijay Singh and Fred Couples.
Plus, tournament host Jim Furyk, who had a season-best finish of a tie for fourth last week at the Dick's Sporting Goods Open, four shots behind Harrington.
Furyk & Friends will air on Golf Channel all three rounds.
"I think it's terrible we're not going to have our defending champion here," PGA Tour Champions president Miller Brady said on Monday at the Furyk & Friends media day. "But we understand he's made his decision and we're moving on as well. We have to many recognizable names who are supporting this Tour and will continue to play here. Padraig is all-in. Jim, Ernie Els, David Duval, Darren Clarke ... the list of names is endless."
And in addition to the golf, the party will never end. Beginning with a concert at Daily's Place on Oct. 4 headlined by Jake Owen and Jordan Davis going into the week with numerous hospitality venues, fans will be able to enjoy the cornerstones of the second annual event: golf, music and food.
"We're checking all the boxes," said tournament director Adam Renfroe. "We're planning on another great week for fan experience."
That experience also helped raise $1.17 million in charity last year for the Jim and Tabitha Furyk Foundation, more than double the amount that the Furyk & Friends tournament raised in its best year when it was a two-day event at the Sawgrass Country Club, and exceeding the most optimistic expectations for the first year as a Champions Tour event.
"Everyone told us that you would be lucky to break even in the first year," said Tabitha Furyk. "The impact has been tremendous. Our partners [Constellation and Circle K] and the corporate community came out very strong and helped us support these charities and it's really making a difference in our community. The ticket sales for the concert and the tournament were tremendous, and a huge thanks for the folks who came out. Hopefully we can make an even larger impact this year."
An added bonus will be the work done on the historic Donald Ross-designed venue, which was recently restored by architect Bruce Hepner. There weren't many visible changes (fans will notice one modification to the short par-4 second hole, where the green and a pond were shifted to the left) but improvements were made to irrigation and the playing surface.
Jim Furyk said there was no denying the impact that Mickelson had on the event last year. Five months after winning the PGA Championship, Mickelson led wire-to-wire at Timuquana, fending off Jimenez down the stretch.
But Furyk and Els tied for fourth, Langer and Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker tied for seventh and Singh and Love tied for 11th.
Take Mickelson out of the mix, and it was still a leaderboard that included 10 major champions and five members of the Hall of Fame among the top-25.
"When he went to LIV, it was very apparent he was not going to play our event," Furyk said of Mickelson and other players suspended by commissioner Jay Monahan.
"Him playing last year was a huge boost for us. He's a guy who still pushes the needle for the PGA Tour and the PGA Tour Champions, our ratings on Golf Channel were through the roof and it was a huge positive. But we had the strongest field of any Champions Tour event last year and I expect it to be among the top this year. Phil won't be in the field but we have a lot of Hall of Famers and major champions and I'm excited about that."
A representative of the title sponsor shared that enthusiasm.
"For us, we're thrilled to be building on a two-decade long partnership with Jim and Tabitha and their wonderful foundation," said Jim McHugh, executive vice-president and chief commercial officer of Constellation, referring to a player sponsorship the company has had with Furyk, in addition to the tournament sponsorship. "It has a positive impact on the community and that's a value we share with the Furyks."
CONSTELLATION FURYK AND FRIENDS
When: Oct. 7-9.
Where: Timuquana Country Club.
What: A PGA Tour Champions event and part of the Charles Schwab Cup.
TV: Golf Channel.
Purse: $2 million; $300,000 to the winner.
Military tickets: Free to active duty, reserve, National Guard, retirees, veterans and dependents with a valid ID. Visit tournament website, click on tickets, then click on military tickets.
Youth policy: 17 and under free when accompanied by one ticketed adult.
Parking: Free at Orange Park Mall during tournament rounds, with shuttles to the course. Free transportation also available on St. Johns River taxis, leaving Winston Family YMCA on Riverside Avenue
Schedule: Oct. 4 -- Furyk Foundation Concert, Jake Owen and Jordan Davis, Daily's Place, 7:30 p.m.; Oct. 5-6, Pro-Ams, Timuquana (open only to pro-am players); Oct. 7-9, tournament rounds, Timuquana.
Charity: Family Links, Operation Shower, Blessings in a Backpack, Wolfson Children's Hospital, MaliVai Washington Youth Foundation, First Tee-North Florida, Hope for the Holidays, Habitat for Humanity, Jacksonville Humane Society, St. Johns Riverkeeper.
Contact Garry Smits at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @GSmitter
This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: Phil Mickelson won't be in Furyk & Friends but field still has star power