Champions Tour announces 2009 Volunteer of the Year

Larry Difloe/IPI, Inc.
Champions Tour president Mike Stevens with 2009 Volunteer of the Year recipient Ron Keener.
November 13, 2009
PGA TOUR staff

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- The PGA TOUR's Champions Tour has selected Ron Keener of the Principal Charity Classic in West Des Moines, IA as its 2009 Volunteer of the Year. The announcement was made by Champions Tour President Mike Stevens at the annual Champions Tour Tournament Association (CTTA) meetings held this week in San Antonio, Texas.

Keener was chosen from a list of nominees submitted by the tournaments organizations through a balloting process conducted by the Champions Tour and CTTA. In total, Champions Tour events enlist approximately 20,000 volunteers annually.

As a 19-year employee of the event's title sponsor, Principal Financial Group, Keener became involved with the Principal Charity Classic in 2007. Upon learning that the Caddie Hospitality area was in need of improvements, Keener adopted the committee and began seeking ways to enhance the facilities and amenities offered to caddies during tournament week. After scouting other tournaments and speaking directly with the caddies themselves, he launched the revamped committee in 2008 now known as Caddie Concierge services, an expanded hospitality area that offers amenities including passes to local fitness clubs, coupons to various restaurants, a gift card to local grocery store and much more. The caddie tent now features an on-site masseuse, catering from restaurants in the area and a staffed desk where caddies and their guests can receive recommendations on hotels, barber shops and anything else that will help them feel more "at home" during their stay in West Des Moines.

"Ron's Caddie Concierge has raised the bar for catering to caddies on the Champions Tour," said Jamie Alt, Tournament Director for the Principal Charity Classic. "We are fortunate to have his passion and dedication contributing to the Principal Charity Classic. By improving the services and facilities for caddies he has engaged additional businesses to support our event which has elevated our tournament and charity profile in the Des Moines community."

"I was both surprised and humbled to receive this honor," said Keener, whose regular job is a Business Coordinator, Retirement and Investor Services with Principal Financial Group. "My volunteer job is easy to do because the caddies are so appreciative and many Des Moines businesses support our efforts to provide these unique amenities and services."

"Volunteerism is essential to the success of the Champions Tour," said Champions Tour President Mike Stevens. "Without volunteers we could not achieve our charitable goals, nor could we conduct and manage our events. To have Ron's efforts recognized as the best of the best demonstrates how lucky we are to have countless volunteers across 25 events dedicate their time and energy for our players, charity and the communities we serve."

The 2010 Principal Charity Classic returns to Glen Oaks Country Club on May 31- June 6. Mark McNulty is the defending champion.