|SGC's Chatlos Talks - 2/26/2005|
By: Richard Davison, Sonoma Index Tribune - 2/26/05
2.25.05 - With two years of a four-year commitment in the books, the Charlees Schwab Cup Championship at Sonoma Golf Club finds itself in a critical year if it is to stay in the Valley of the Moon after 2006.
With that in mind, tournament director Chad Chatlos took the stage at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa Tuesday night and outlined a plan to make this year's event the most successful yet.
"the past two years we have donated a total of $650,000 to local charities, but we really believe we can do more," said Chatlos, clearly proud of that amount and the fact that the PGA TOUR as a whole is moving in on $1 billion in charitable contributions since 1938. "We are just a small chunk of that amount and we believe we can grow and contribute even more money to this community."
Chatlos then outlined the new Ambassadors Club, which he hopes will add to the success of the 2005 tournament, and also greatly benefit the community.
"We all know this could be a great tournament and the players love coming to Wine Country as we all know that the weather is great in October in this area," Chatlos said sarcastically, referring to almost two inches of rain that fell on Tuesday and continued through tourney week in 2004.
With the new Ambassadors Club, Chatlos feels that he can have many individuals and companies in the local community help with pre-ticket sales, a must for any successful tournament.
"If I had planned on coming to the tournament last year and had not bought my tickets ahead of time, I would probably not have come if the weather was as bad as it was, but if I had already purchased my ticket, I might have thought about coming out and supporting the tournament anyhow," said Chatlos.
Members of the Ambassadors Club will be responsible for a certain amount of tickets that will be pre-sold. In return, these "leaders in the community" will be treated to approximately four networking events throughout the year that will offer them the chance to compete for prizes based on their sale results. Chatlos was clearly excited about the program, which is loosely modeled after the Thunderbirds ideaat the Phoenix open on the PGA TOUR.
Chatlos pointed out that on top of the $650,000 that goes to local charities, the economic impact on restaurants, lodging and the community itself is $6million to $8 million.
"This is a great event to havee in the Valley, and it not only brings revenue to businesses, but gives back to local charities," Chatlos said.
He also was quick to mention that approximately 70 million viewers would see the tournament on the Golf Channel, further boosting the reputation of Sonoma for its fine wineries and its venues as a tourist destination.
One project Chatlos hopes some of this year's charitable contributions will go to sonoma Valley High School's Schantz Track, which is in desperate need of repairs. Along with the high school, other charities such as the Boys & Girls Club, Sonoma County Chidren's Charities and both the First Tee of the North Bay and First Tee of San Francisco all benefit from the tournament. Catlos closed his presentation stating, "We want this tournament to be embraced by the community."