The first quarter of 2019 was perhaps one of the most successful and rewarding in recent years for Global Golf Management with the return of the Puerto Rico Open to the PGA TOUR schedule, the operations of two World Golf Championships and the introduction of two new events.
The year began with a new venture that actually stretches throughout the year. GGM introduced the White Sands Bahamas Series with its partners, the Island of the Bahamas and Atlantis Resort. This new series started with a Pro-Am featuring 22 LPGA players competing in a one-day tournament at the Ocean Club Golf Course at Atlantis Resort as part of a four-day weekend of activities Jan. 31-Feb. 4. The Pro-Am was a sellout and the event also feature a bracket-style shootout, casino action and a Super Bowl Party on the day following the golf event. Among the notable LPGA players participating were Lexi Thompson, Stacy Lewis and Brittany Lincicome.
The White Sands Bahamas Series also includes the Golf Channel’s “Golf Advisor Round Trip Bahamas” program and golf outing hosted by Golf Channel personality and travel expert Matt Ginella. Participants can compete in a two-day tournament in July at the Ocean Course and enjoy a variety of other activities. On location filming was completed in late March with Matt Ginella and crew, in preparation for the July premier of Golf Advisor Round Trip Bahamas.
Capping off the series are a pair of collegiate golf events, back to back, starting in late October and featuring some of the top teams in NCAA Division I golf. The White Sands Bahamas NCAA Invitational, hosted by the University of Houston, will feature 15-team men’s and women’s tournaments. The women’s competition will be held Oct. 27-30 at Atlantis’ Ocean Club Golf Course and the men’s event follows immediately after Oct. 31-Nov. 2.
The winner of the women’s event will receive an exemption into and LPGA event in 2020. Similarly, the winner of the men’s event will receive and exemption into a PGA Tour tournament next year.
“The White Sands Bahamas Series shows we are active in creating custom content for properties, sponsor/partners, professionals and amateur golfers, as golf lifestyle becomes part of our growing portfolio. GGM is very excited to roll out the upcoming components with our Golf Advisor Round Trip Bahamas show, as well as the NCAA Invitationals this fall.” – Jeff Raedle
GGM helped launch a second event in the first quarter, the LECOM Suncoast Classic, which was held February 11-17 at Lakewood National Golf Club in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. Mark Hubbard was the winner of the inaugural Web.com Tour event, pocketing $99,000 of the $550,000 purse. The tournament received great support from the local fan base.
Global Golf Management was at the forefront of what might be the feel-good comeback story of the year not involving Tiger Woods. We helped stage the Puerto Rico Open Feb. 18-24 at Coco Beach Golf & Country Club in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico. The $3 million tournament was not held in 2018 due to Hurricane Maria, but it enjoyed an immensely successful return. Martin Trainer was the winner among a strong field of competitors, but the real victory was having the tournament again and raising more than $600,000 for local charities, primarily for Kids Pro Fun, which provides sports equipment to island youths and sports programs.
Needless to say, we were extremely proud to be a part of the rebirth of this event and all the meaningful things it does for Puerto Rico.
“We are proud of our results at the 2019 Puerto Rico Open, and offer our sincerest gratitude to all of our partners, and spectators on island that made this year’s event possible and extra special. Martin Trainer is a grand champion. Our foundation has never been stronger in the local community, and we are already preparing for a more successful Open in 2020.” – Mike Harmon
Simultaneously while putting on a tremendous event in Puerto Rico, we assisted the PGA TOUR at the WGC-Mexico Championship in Mexico City, won by Dustin Johnson. This was the third year of the $10.25 million event. We were able to show our depth and know-how in taking on work at two events the same week.
Our quarter ended with another double-header as we were called upon at the Kia Classic on the LPGA Tour the same week we also were in charge of operations at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship. Before that flurry, the LPGA returned to America at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, where we saw Jin Young Ko playing the weekend without a bogey at Wildfire Golf & Country Club in Phoenix.
Ko was in the mix again at the Kia Classic, but it was Nasa Hataoka who emerged with the title at Aviara Golf Club in Carlsbad, Calif. Meanwhile, we hustled during a long week in Austin, Texas at WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship at Austin Country Club in a five-day competition that included two 18-hole matches per day until the winner was crowned. In the final, Kevin Kisner beat fellow American Matt Kuchar, 3 and 2, after finishing second to Bubba Watson the year before.
It was a busy quarter, but also a rewarding one that accomplished many good things and set us up for a number of other projects in the coming months.
Our outlook for the second quarter includes upcoming events on three different tours, highlighted by the new Pure Silk Championship in Williamsburg, Va., on the LPGA Tour, which gives the women’s game another great event beginning May 20. It also enables us to continue our special relationship with Perio, Inc., in Dublin, Ohio, which is the parent of Pure Silk and an enthusiastic supporter of the game.
The following week we’re at the Rex Hospital Open in Raleigh, N.C., and then we move on to the PGA Tour the week of June 24 at another new event, the Rocket Mortgage Open in Detroit. The fact that new events continue to enlist the services of our team at Global Golf Management is quite gratifying and illustrates the confidence that tournaments have in our ability to operate their events successfully and with unquestioned competence.
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