By Mike Bradwell
SOUTHPOINTE, Pa. – Organizers of the PGA's Nationwide Tour's Mylan Classic, to be held Aug. 30 to Sept. 5 at the Southpointe Golf Club, said Friday that the event is expected to generate a local economic impact of "millions and millions" of dollars as well as contribute substantially to local charities.
Tournament director Chase McClain and Tim Iley of the PGA told about 200 members of the Washington County Chamber of Commerce at the Southpointe Golf Club that the tournament will also give Southpointe and Washington County several days of international exposure through constant coverage on cable television's Golf Channel, which has viewership around the world.
McClain described a 72-hole stroke-play event that will draw 156 players from 68 countries who will play the Southpointe course in a four-day tournament. The Nationwide Tour group of 29 tournaments is also the place where up-and-coming players vie to make the tour's top 25 list in terms of earnings.
"The focus of every player throughout the season is making it on the Top 25 money list," McClain said, noting that the achievement earns those players a PGA tour card for the following season. The local event will have a $600,000 purse, with $108,000 going to the champion.
The Nationwide Tour has produced 333 graduates to the PGA, which is now made up of more than 70 percent of former Nationwide Tour players.
The local tournament also means international exposure for Southpointe and Washington County, McClain said, noting that cable television's Golf Channel will carry all four days of the tournament.
The event will be telecast over all basic cable systems around the world and the final day of play will be repeated on the Monday following the tournament.
Iley, who said the event will generate "millions and millions" of dollars for the local economy, added that the economic impact will last long after the tournament is over. According to a tour news release, early projections indicate the immediate impact for the region will be nearly $9 million.
"A lot of eyes around the world will be on this facility and this tournament," Iley said. "People will want to vacation here, bring some business here and maybe relocate some businesses here."
This year's outing at Southpointe won't be a one-shot deal. Iley said following Friday's meeting that the tour has committed to the golf club through 2012, adding that it is viewing the site as a long-term engagement.
Both Iley and McClain stressed that the event is not just about golf, but about charity as well.
Iley noted that since PGA-sanctioned events began in 1937, they have generated $1.5 billion in charitable contributions, "more than twice what all the other sports have given combined in the same period of time."
Rod Piatt, vice chairman of the board of Southpointe-based Mylan Inc., a global generic pharmaceutical company with 15,000 employees around the world, said charity will be at the forefront of the Southpointe tournament.
"One of the driving forces is supporting regional and local charities," Piatt said, noting that charitable organizations can sign up for the tournament's "Tickets Fore Charity" program, which returns 100 percent of all net proceeds from ticket sales to the participating groups. Tour organizers met Wednesday with representatives of nearly 60 area nonprofit organizations to discuss the plan.
Piatt also announced Friday that Consol Energy Inc. will be the presenting sponsor for the tour, which will be referred to as "The Mylan Classic Presented by Consol Energy."
Consol spokesman Joe Cerenzia said the company has been a sponsor of the Nationwide Tour Event in West Virginia and views it as an ideal event for charity.
"We're really here for the people who can't be" Cerenzia said.
For more information about the "Tickets Fore Charity" program or about volunteer opportunities at the tournament, call Melissa Myler at 724-579-6049. For information about sponsorships for the event, call Lynette Stevens at 724-579-5035.