When Mississippi's PGA Tour stop began so humbly 48 years ago, organizers called it the Magnolia State Classic.
With nearly half a century of history, it now seems perfectly clear a more appropriate name was available: The Monsoon Open.
The tournament has been played in spring, summer and fall. It has been played at three sites, has experienced four name changes, five different sponsors and one constant: rain.
This year's Sanderson Farms Championship was no different and further proof that no Farmer's Almanac, nor Weather Channel, is necessary when it comes to the PGA Tour and Mississippi. What you need is this: a big, sturdy umbrella and galoshes. At least, this year, no boats were needed. That has been the case in the past.
You know this year's deal. Mid-Mississippi had experienced a summer-long drought. Yards were dying. Trees were stressed. Flowers were parched. Lakes were down. We were under a rare burn ban. And then came time for the Sanderson Farms Championship and, of course, nearly a foot of rain.
But here's what you need to know about the Sanderson Farms Championship. It persevered. It always does. The tournament Sports Illustrated once dubbed "The little golf tournament that could" still does.
This year, the best news came before the tournament ever began: Joe Sanderson, CEO of the sponsoring food corporation, last week announced a 10-year contact extension with the PGA Tour to continue the tournament through 2026.
The cheers you hear are from Century Club Charities and Batson Children's Hospital at University of Mississippi Medical Center. Last year, the tournament raised $1.4 million for charities, including a $1.1 million check for the children's hospital.
Mississippi Sports Hall of Famer Robert Morgan of Hattiesburg, the tournament's executive director for the first 38 years, kept this tournament alive through thick, lots of thin and a couple floods. Morgan just wouldn't let it die. But it finally seemed doomed three years ago.
Enter Sanderson, the 68-year-old self-avowed golf enthusiast, who injected both money and energy. He originally signed on for four years, and this was the third.
That's not how he normally does business, Sanderson says.
"We don't do short-term deals," Sanderson said. "Everything we do with our customers, our employees, our growers, our city, is long-term. So when we discussed this, we had no fear of a 10-year commitment."
Sanderson is nothing if not committed. He is surely the only tournament CEO in professional golf who writes personal thank-you notes to the non-exempt, no-name golfers who go through pre-tournament qualifying. He's hands-on, across the board. He personally thanks the volunteers. Heck, he even thanks the caddies.
In 2014, for the first time in a long time, the tournament experienced perfect weather. We saw what a first-class PGA Tour tournament could be like in early November at Country Club of Jackson. You only needed an umbrella if you wanted to block the sunshine.
The Farmer's Almanac would tell you that's what the weather is supposed be like this time of the year in this part of the world.
So maybe, despite the history, this year was an anomaly. Maybe, for the next 11 years, we'll experience the sunny, breezy "sweater weather" the first week of November normally brings.
Rain or not, Mississippi's PGA Tournament is good through 2026. The little tournament that could is not so little any more. What began as a $20,000 experiment is now a $4.1 million reality -- with a guaranteed future.