Knoxville News Sentinel to sponsor hometown event

June 02, 2010
PGA TOUR staff

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The Knoxville News Sentinel has entered into a partnership with the PGA TOUR to become title sponsor in 2010 of one of the Nationwide Tour's four original events that is still on the schedule, it was announced Wednesday at a press conference at the newspaper's headquarters.

The official name of the tournament will be the Knoxville News Sentinel Open.

Tournament officials also confirmed that the tournament will be played the week of Aug. 23-29 at Fox Den Country Club. It was originally scheduled for June 7-13.

"The News Sentinel is proud to partner with the PGA TOUR to assure this professional tournament stays in Knoxville and is a benefit to our community," said Patrick Birmingham, president and publisher of the Knoxville News Sentinel. "I am happy to announce that the proceeds from every ticket sold to the public will go directly to a charity here. I encourage you to bring your family to enjoy an outstanding event played at the beautiful Fox Den Country Club in Farragut and help a good cause. Additionally, our staff will be working closely with Tour personnel to raise funds and maintain transparency to assure the long-term health and success of this tournament for Knoxville."

"The Nationwide Tour has had a great two decade run in Knoxville," said Bill Calfee, president of the Nationwide Tour. "The PGA TOUR believes in Knoxville and we think we have a good future here. Supporters are aware the tournament has experienced some challenges the last several months. We are extremely happy to be able to make today's announcement and move forward with our partnership with the Knoxville News Sentinel. We think their high profile and leadership position in the community will inject very positive momentum into the tournament.

"In order for the tournament to be all it can be the support of the Knoxville business community is vital," Calfee added. "We are confident Knoxville will respond and the 21st playing of the Open in August will be a success and provide a solid foundation for future growth."

"I would echo Bill's comments and encourage as many Knoxville-area businesses as possible to invest in the tournament as this is what it will take for the Knoxville News Sentinel Open and the Nationwide Tour to have true success in raising funds for charity," said tournament director Patrick Nichol. "The goal of every Nationwide Tour event is to support charities in the cities in which its events are held. Sponsorship packages that feature hospitality, pro-am participation, tickets and exposure opportunities are available. I would be happy to discuss these possibilities with any interested companies as early as today."

Nichol added that August is an ideal time of year for the golf course to be in very good condition for the 72-hole competition.

The Nationwide Tour has been a fixture on the Knoxville sports scene, welcoming the future stars of the PGA TOUR to eastern Tennessee every year since the Tour's inception in 1990. Past champions of the event who have gone on to capture PGA TOUR titles are Jeff Maggert (1990), Brian Henninger (1992), Tom Scherrer (1995), J.J. Henry (2000), Heath Slocum (2001), Vaughn Taylor (2003) and Chez Reavie (2007).

The last two Knoxville tournaments have ended dramatically in playoffs, with Jarrod Lyle (2008) and Kevin Johnson (2009) prevailing.

Knoxville is joined by Boise, Idaho, Springfield, Mo. and Wichita, Kan. in having hosted a Nationwide Tour event every year since 1990. Fox Den Country Club has been the host venue in Knoxville every year since 1999.

For more information about sponsorships and tickets, individuals may call 865-966-7693.