New Site, New Look for Cologuard Classic  

La Paloma Country Club Hosts for First Time

By Steve Rivera

The PGA Tour Champions Cologuard Classic presented by Exact Sciences will have a new venue, new attitude and new look for the 2024 event.

All involved can’t wait.

La Paloma Country Club will be the eighth site for a PGA event in Tucson’s long golf history, joining El Rio Golf Course, Omni Tucson National, Randolph North, 49ers Country Club, Starr Pass, The Gallery and the Ritz Carlton, Dove Mountain as host sites.

“We’re excited to be part of Tucson golf and to be part of its future,” said Rob DeMore, executive VP of Troon Privé, which manages the La Paloma property. “La Paloma has never been showcased like this, especially on a national or international level, so we’re excited. We’re excited to showcase Tucson because Tucson is a special place.”

They’ll showcase the Jack Nicklaus-designed course, built in 1984, in a week of festivities from March 3-10. The $2.2 million, 54-hole PGA Tour Champions tournament runs March 8-10.

Since officially becoming the new site for the PGA Tour Champions event in the spring, Tucson Conquistadores officials have put in the work to make it special. There have been ongoing renovations in preparation for the big event, DeMore said. La Paloma can be remembered for being in the popular golf movie, “Tin Cup,” a portion of which was filmed there.

“My initial impressions (of La Paloma) were certainly eye-opening,” said Geoff Hill, who is completing his first full year as the Conquistadores’ executive director. “We have an opportunity to host our globally recognized event at one of the best clubs in Arizona. Our team started planning immediately after the 2023 championship and focused on many of the operational components. There is certainly an exciting buzz in Tucson about the 2024 championship within our community that many people are looking forward to.

“The entire La Paloma team and their membership have been extremely supportive since Day 1 as well. They have an incredible team from both the country club and Westin (hotel) side that are working hard to ensure we showcase the event and their property and community to the fullest.”

An additional feature is that it’s closer to the city – in the heart of the Catalina Foothills – where great views at all angles will be visible.

“Being more centrally located in Tucson will allow even more fans the opportunity to attend the event and enjoy these experiences,” Hill said. “When I worked at the PGA Tour, I had the opportunity to host, plan and operate three specific tournaments at venues that had never hosted PGA Tour events prior to the Tour arriving. It does take additional planning and communication focus, although I feel that we have put ourselves in an excellent position to succeed.”

What the move truly offers is stability as Cologuard and La Paloma have entered into a four-year agreement. 

“Yes,” said Joe Hinkle, tournament chair for the Tucson Conquistadores, who run the tournament. “Stability for our future, stability for our title sponsor and stability for the Conquistadores.” Cologuard became the event sponsor in 2018. The Champions Tour event had been played at Omni Tucson National since 2015. 

The new venue does create a feeling of a new event after years at Tucson National. But everyone involved is excited for the move.

“There is certainly pressure involved in generating success in the sports and entertainment business, particularly at a new venue,” Hill said. “However, this is where my team and I excel. Our team and the Tucson Conquistadores have several years of experience in hosting some of the best championships in golf at many golf courses. We strive to provide memorable experiences to our fans, participants, and give back to the community at the same time.”

Being closer to the city may help draw more attendance.

“I’m optimistic about that,” Hill said. “With the move to a new venue and renewing Exact Sciences through 2027, it feels like a Year 1 event, that tends to gain a great deal of traction in the marketplace.”

One change will be the popular concert, which will move off-site and to a different day: from a Saturday to a Friday and at Rillito Race Track. At press time, the artists for the concert had not been finalized.

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