There are no exemptions for the Cottonwood Classic Golf Tournament at the Yampa Valley Golf Course. Last year's tournament champion, Jayson Villangrana, found that out first hand.
"He called after the registration deadline," YVGC golf professional Chuck Cobb. "So we won't have the defending champ returning."
While the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs golfer will not be back, the 2001 and '00 champion, Preston Ivy, who missed '02 because of work, will return. Ivy said he is anxious to return to the Cottonwood, but regaining a title isn't his focus.
"It's great because I get to see a lot of old friends who come back," he said. "That's what I look forward to the most."
There will be 208 of Ivy's closest friends at the YVGC for the 36th Cottonwood Classic.
A full field of golfers from all over the country will be competing with handicaps from +2 to 36.
While Cobb said that Ivy is the "odds on favorite" he knew of several other golfers who would give the former champ a challenge. Included in that field is one of the top high school golfers in the state, Eric Winder from Grand Junction.
As far as conditions, the weatherman is predicting blue skies all weekend. While the skies will be blue, the course has an abundance of green.
Cobb said that because of a wet spring the grass is thicker and greener than last year.
"They will pay if they hit into the rough," he said. "Last year, with less rain, there wasn't a lot of tall grass."
Golfers trying to keep out of the rough will be split into the championship flight and seven other flights, all by age and/or handicap.
The tournament begins each day with first tees times at 7 a.m. at the first and 10th holes.
"This is a great tournament for guys who love to just come out and just play the game," Ivy said. "Of course there are some who take it pretty serious but for the most part everybody is out there to have fun."
David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org .