PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- The Honorable Condoleezza Rice has accepted an invitation to be Honorary Chairperson for the Regions Tradition, the first major championship of the 2011 Champions Tour season, to be contested May 3-8 at Shoal Creek, near Birmingham, Ala.
Dr. Rice served as the 66th U.S. Secretary of State in the administration of President George W. Bush. She was the first African-American woman secretary of state. Before serving as Secretary of State she was President Bush's national security advisor, the first woman to hold that position.
"The Champions Tour is extremely proud and very fortunate to have Condoleezza Rice as Honorary Chair of the Regions Tradition. As an avid golfer and Shoal Creek member, her support adds even more stature to the repositioning of the Regions Tradition," said Mike Stevens, President of the Champions Tour.
Dr. Rice, a native of Birmingham, took up golf in 2005 and joined Shoal Creek as a non-resident member in 2009.
The 20-handicapper played in a pro-am in Los Angeles last month with PGA TOUR professional Steve Stricker. Dr. Rice is expected to hit the opening ceremonial tee shot at the Regions Tradition to commence the tournament.
"It is a privilege to serve as the Honorary Chairperson for the Regions Tradition. This major championship is creating enormous interest in the community, and stands to make a significant charitable and economic impact in Birmingham and the state of Alabama," Rice said.
Dr. Rice is currently the Thomas and Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution, a professor of political economy in the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and a director of its Global Center for Business and the Economy. She has served as a senior advisor to the Board of Directors of Regions Financial Corp., title sponsor of the Regions Tradition, since 2009.
Shoal Creek is a proven venue that has previously hosted the 1984 and 1990 PGA Championship, the 1986 U.S. Amateur Championship and the 2008 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship. The 7,234-yard, par 72, Jack Nicklaus designed layout provided three-stroke victories for both PGA Championship winners -- Lee Trevino in 1984 and Wayne Grady in 1990.
Some of the biggest names in golf, including World Golf Hall of Fame members Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Raymond Floyd, Tom Kite and Tom Watson, are past champions of the Tradition. Fred Funk is the defending champion.
The Golf Channel will televise the tournament exclusively each of the four days to more than 133 countries, reaching more than 117 million households.
The Children's Hospital of Alabama will be the tournament's prime charitable beneficiary.
The tournament website is www.RegionsTradition.com.