PGA TOUR’S NATIONWIDE TOUR AND WAYNE GRETZKY
ANNOUNCE PREMIERE EVENT IN CANADA
Hockey Great to Host Celebrity Pro-Am, With Ford of Canada As Title Sponsor
Brantford, Ontario, Canada - November 19, 2007 – The PGA TOUR’s Nationwide Tour and Wayne Gretzky announced today that the Wayne Gretzky Foundation will host a new tournament in Canada beginning in 2008, sponsored by Ford Motor Company of Canada, Limited.
The Ford Wayne Gretzky Classic will be held June 23-29 at The Georgian Bay Club and the Raven Golf Club at Lora Bay, located on the shores of expansive Georgian Bay, 150 km northwest of Toronto. The Nationwide Tour features PGA TOUR stars of the future with 25 PGA TOUR cards awarded at the conclusion of the season to its leading money winners.
Ford of Canada, a long-time supporter of the Wayne Gretzky Foundation, has signed a three-year agreement to be the title sponsor of the event through 2010. Samsung Electronics Canada, Inc., also a long-time supporter of the Wayne Gretzky Foundation, will be the presenting sponsor.
The Ford Wayne Gretzky Classic will feature a unique format with 160 Nationwide Tour players paired with 160 celebrities/amateurs for a minimum of two days. One professional will be paired with one celebrity or amateur on Thursday and Friday, June 26 and 27 and the teams alternating between The Georgian Bay Club and Lora Bay courses both days. Ten pro/amateur teams will compete on Saturday, June 28th and Sunday, June 29th for the Pro-Celebrity/Amateur title at The Georgian Bay Club.
The 160 professionals will vie for one of the Tour’s largest purses, $800,099 (U.S) over 72 holes of stroke-play competition. All four rounds will be televised by Golf Channel.
Gretzky, an avid golfer who has enjoyed participating in celebrity events on both the PGA TOUR and Nationwide Tour, has committed to play in the Classic and is excited to host an event on the Nationwide Tour. “I have always had tremendous respect for the Nationwide Tour and the platform it provides for aspiring golfers,” said Gretzky. “I am thrilled to host an event that will recognize the hard work and dedication these players put in week after week on Tour.”
"The Ford Wayne Gretzky Classic is a terrific addition to the Nationwide Tour schedule," said Nationwide Tour President Bill Calfee. "It is exciting to have Canada's premiere sports legend partnering with the Tour. Golf fans of Canada will get to watch PGA TOUR stars of the future and have the unique opportunity to get close to Wayne and the many celebrities who will be participating."
The Wayne Gretzky Foundation, founded by Gretzky in 2002, will be the primary beneficiary of the event. David Greenberg, vice president, general marketing, Ford of Canada said "Ford of Canada has a long-standing commitment to hockey. Through our relationship with Wayne Gretzky, we are proud to support his foundation to help bring Canada's sport to kids who may not otherwise get the chance to play."
The Georgian Bay Club, designed by Dr. Michael Hurdzan and opened for play in 2004, was named Golf Digest’s top-ranked New Private Course in Canada in 2005. The Raven Golf Club at Lora Bay, which opened in 2006, was co-designed by 1996 British Open champion Tom Lehman and prominent Canadian golf course architect Thomas McBroom.
The Ford Wayne Gretzky Classic will be managed and operated by the Blake and Bosworth Group, Canada.
About The Wayne Gretzky Foundation:
Founded in 2002, the Wayne Gretzky Foundation’s mission is to provide less fortunate youth with the opportunity to experience the sport of hockey. This goal will be accomplished through the donation of hockey equipment and ice time, as well as providing the opportunity for young people to attend professional hockey games. The Wayne Gretzky Foundation believes that hockey instills many positive life skills and contributes to the physical, emotional and social growth of young people.
Ford of Canada’s operations include a national headquarters, three regional offices, two branch offices, four vehicle assembly and engine manufacturing plants, two parts distribution centres, and affiliates including Ford Credit, Jaguar, Volvo, and Land Rover. Ford employs more than 10,000 people in Canada, while an additional 18,600 people are employed in the more than 450 Ford and Ford-Lincoln dealerships across the country. For more information, please visit www.ford.ca.
About the Nationwide Tour
As an extension of the PGA TOUR, the Nationwide Tour identifies and transitions those select golfers whose games are ready to compete and win on golf’s greatest stage. Collectively, Nationwide Tour alumni have won 217 PGA TOUR events, including 21 in 2007, and a grand slam of the major championships. Twenty-five PGA TOUR cards will be at stake over the course of the 2008 Nationwide Tour season. Recognizing this growing stature and the PGA TOUR’s commitment to charity, Nationwide, one of the largest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the world, renewed its umbrella sponsorship of the Nationwide Tour through 2012. The PGA TOUR, through the efforts of its three tours and their tournaments, sponsors, players and volunteers, supports over 2,000 local charities and has surpassed $1 billion in charitable giving. To learn more about the Nationwide Tour's rich history and the PGA TOUR’s next stars, visit www.PGATOUR.com.
Nationwide, based in Columbus, OH, is one of the largest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the world, with more than $160 billion in assets. Nationwide ranks No. 104 on the Fortune 500 list. The company provides a full range of insurance and financial services, including auto, motorcycle, boat, homeowners, life, commercial insurance, administrative services, annuities, mortgages, mutual funds, pensions and long-term savings plans. For more information, visit www.nationwide.com.