Tour announces tournament awards for 2012December 13, 2012
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- The Champions Tour has announced the best tournaments of the 2012 Champions Tour season.
Five specific categories were recognized -- the Presidents Award, the Players Award, the Tournament Business Affairs Award, the Outstanding Achievement Award and the Fan Favorite Award.
Mike Stevens, President of the Champions Tour, announced the Dick's Sporting Goods Open, staged at En-Joie Golf Course in Endicott, N.Y., as the recipient of the Presidents Award, a most prestigious award which captures the criteria of all the awards plus the intangibles that make it stand out from the rest.
"The Dick's Sporting Goods Open was an exceptional event in 2012 with one of the best fields in Champions Tour history," Stevens said. "The event remarkably overcame significant challenges following the devastating floods which affected the entire region after the 2011 tournament. Everyone involved with this event should take great pride in the way they worked together to make it extremely successful; an event that is very deserving of the Presidents Award."
The major flooding damage was sustained from Tropical Storm Lee that caused the Susquehanna River to overflow at record levels in September of 2011 and almost completely cover the En-Joie course. In 2012, Willie Wood holed a 30-foot putt for birdie on the final hole of regulation to force a playoff with Michael Allen who was seeking his third victory of the season. Wood prevailed in the playoff to capture his first Champions Tour win, and his first win anywhere in more than 16 years.
The Players Award went to the Insperity Championship. The ninth-year tournament has "the best of everything" for players, sponsors and spectators, resulting in excellent galleries in spectacular surroundings at The Woodlands Country Club in Houston, Texas. Fred Funk birdied three of the last four holes to beat Tom Lehman in a down-to-the-wire finish but the highlight may have been the "Big Three" -- Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player - winning an 18-hole exhibition on Saturday afternoon in front of an estimated gallery of 40,000 which included many current Champions Tour stars.
The Champions Tour Tournament Business Affairs Department Award went to the Boeing Classic. The TBA team rates and grades every tournament in several different categories that determine what makes a successful event, and the Boeing Classic, played at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge in Seattle, Wash. for the 8th consecutive year earned the highest overall score. Jay Don Blake defeated Mark O'Meara in a playoff for his third Champions Tour victory in a tournament that always engages and encourages the involvement of the local community.
The Outstanding Achievement Award was shared by the Pacific Links Hawaii Championship and the SAS Championship where both events excelled with inspired initiatives. The inaugural Pacific Links Hawaii Championship left a lasting impression during their pre-tournament pro-am, showering participants with surprise gifts on almost every hole at the Kapolei Golf Course. At the SAS Championship, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of North Carolina sponsored the Blue 5K run over the back nine of Prestonwood Country Club in Cary, N.C. for the third year. The event is a perfect way for friends and families to strive for new personal records in competitive divisions while, at the same time, raising money for local charities.
The Champions Tour's Fan Favorite Award was determined by fans who voted at the Champions Tour online gaming hub at www.theUltimateClubhouse.com as well as the Champions Tour Facebook page. The winner of the 2012 award was the Montreal Championship. This year's tournament at La Vallee du Richelieu Golf Club (Vercheres Course) in Quebec was won by Mark Calcavecchia.
The Champions Tour Tournament Advisory Council presents the Bruno Award annually to an individual judged to have made special and outstanding contributions to the Champions Tour. The award is named in honor of Brian 'Bruno' Henning, the former Vice President of the Champions Tour and Southern Africa Golf Hall of Fame member. This year, Hollis Cavner, Chief Executive Officer of Prolinks Sports (PLS), is the recipient of the Bruno Award. Cavner oversees the management and operation of six Champions Tour events and more than 40 corporate outings annually.
"It is an incredible honor to win our industry's highest award," said Cavner. "This is more than just a personal honor; it is a tribute to our entire ProLinks team."
The Insperity Championship, the winner of the 2012 Players Award, is operated by Cavner's company.
Award Recipient Tournament Director Presidents Award Dick's Sporting Goods Open John Karedes Players Award Insperity Championship Jane Wandmacher Tournament Business Affairs Award Boeing Classic Michelle DeLancy Outstanding Achievement Award (tie) SAS Championship Jeff Kleiber Pacific Links Hawaii Chp. Dale Nagata Fan Favorite Award Montreal Championship David Skitt Bruno Award Hollis Cavner