Nationwide, The Ohio State University, the PGA TOUR and Columbus Children’s Hospital announced today the creation of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Invitational, a new annual stop on the Nationwide Tour, to be played July 9-15, 2007 at The Ohio State University Golf Club - Scarlet Course.
“We are excited to partner with The Ohio State University and Children’s Hospital for the inaugural Nationwide Children’s Hospital Invitational,” said Jerry Jurgensen, CEO of Nationwide. “We are thrilled to invite the community to join us for this premier stop on the Nationwide Tour. This event is another great example of our ongoing partnership with Children’s Hospital and a wonderful opportunity for Central Ohio sports fans to see tomorrow’s PGA TOUR superstars in action.”
Renovated in May of 2006 under the direction of Jack Nicklaus, The Ohio State University Golf Club - Scarlet Course is rated as the top collegiate golf course in the country by Golf Digest. OSU Scarlet and The Ohio State University will be on display as they host the first professional golf event in school history. No stranger to high profile, championship caliber golf, OSU Scarlet made history in 1941 by hosting the first-ever women's collegiate golf championship, one of 13 collegiate championships held at the venue.
“We are proud to represent the collegiate community as we host our first professional golf event,” said Eugene Smith, Director of Athletics at The Ohio State University. “We are equally proud to be associated with Nationwide, the PGA TOUR and Columbus Children’s Hospital. They have always been tremendous supporters of the University and we are eager to help build a premier event on that strong foundation.”
Throughout the storied history of The Ohio State University golf program, many of its players have made the successful transition to the ranks of professional golf. The following Ohio State University golf team alumni are current or past members of the Nationwide Tour: Ryan Armour, Mike Austin, Steve Gangluff, Craig Kanada, Greg Ladehoff, Gary Nicklaus, Chris Perry, Steve Runge, Chris Smith, Ted Tryba, and Chris Wollmann.
The event’s primary beneficiary, Columbus Children’s Hospital, was founded in 1892 as a local charity to serve a dozen very ill children. Today, that tiny community-funded mission has matured into the fifth largest Children’s Hospital in the country, with the Nation’s largest neonatal network. Children’s also has a century-long tradition with The Ohio State University as home to the College of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics. Children’s and the University work together to advance education, research and clinical care for the benefit of those they serve.
In June of 2006 Nationwide Foundation announced a gift of $50 million, to be paid over 10 years to Columbus Children’s Hospital. In honor of the transformational gift - the single-largest charitable donation for any cause in central Ohio - the hospital will be renamed the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in the summer of 2007. Tournament proceeds will benefit pediatric cancer care and research at Children’s.
“Nationwide’s commitment to Children’s Hospital and our patients and families is remarkable. This community’s generosity helps make everything we do at Columbus Children’s Hospital possible,” said Children’s Chief Executive Officer, Steve Allen, MD. “Nationwide Foundation’s gift will help build a new main hospital and expand programs in pediatric healthcare and research. The Tournament’s support of our cancer program will change lives for years to come. Children’s is honored to be chosen as the beneficiary for the Tournament, and we look forward to introducing our outstanding institution to a national audience.”
"The Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational in Nationwide's hometown of Columbus, OH is a tremendous addition to the 2007 Nationwide Tour schedule", said Nationwide Tour President Bill Calfee.
"Nationwide, The Ohio State University, Columbus Children's Hospital and the PGA TOUR have formed a very strong foursome. Golf fans of Columbus, who are no strangers to great golf, will witness superb talent from the Nationwide Tour players as they strive to transition to the PGA TOUR. The players are really excited about coming to Columbus in July and playing the Scarlet Course, as they are well aware of its credentials and reputation".
Former Buckeye legend and Columbus, Ohio native Jack Nicklaus will act as the first honorary chairperson for the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Invitational. As a member of the OSU golf team, Nicklaus was a two-time letter winner, first team all-American, and Big-10 and NCAA individual champion. He won two United States Amateur Championships while at OSU and was voted into the Ohio State University Athletics Hall of Fame in 1977.
"I'm delighted to serve as the first honorary chairperson for the Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational," Jack Nicklaus said. "The Ohio State University and Columbus Children's Hospital have both meant a great deal to me and my family for many years. It's always meaningful to me when I have an opportunity to give back to both, and with this event, we have a unique chance to do just that.”
"When we renovated and redesigned the Scarlet Course at Ohio State, one of our goals was to modernize the layout and provide one of the finest tests of collegiate golf in America. I will enjoy seeing how Scarlet stands as a test to some of the top, up-and-coming professional golfers in the world. It was a privilege being involved with Ohio State and the renovation of Scarlet, and I only hope the Nationwide Tour players enjoy playing the golf course as much as I enjoyed working on it."
The inaugural Nationwide Children’s Hospital Invitational will feature a purse of $700,000, the third largest on the Nationwide Tour. The Golf Channel will broadcast nine hours of prime time coverage from Thursday’s opening round to the trophy presentation on Sunday. Two Pro-Am’s will take place during the week, a celebrity Pro-Am on Monday featuring Ohio State University and community celebrities, and the official Tournament Pro-Am played on Wednesday, July 11, 2007. The Tournament will be operated by HNS Sports Group, a full service event manage company headquartered in Dublin, Ohio.
For questions concerning ticket prices and availability, how to become a volunteer, and general Tournament information please call (614) 764-GOLF or visit www.nchigolf.com.
Nationwide, based in Columbus, OH, is one of the largest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the world, with more than $157 billion in assets. Nationwide ranks No. 98 on the Fortune 100 list. The company provides a full range of insurance and financial services, including auto, homeowners, life, commercial insurance, administrative services, annuities, mutual funds, pensions and long-term savings plans. For more information, visit www.nationwide.com.
Nationwide, the Nationwide Framework, and On Your Side are federally registered service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company.
ABOUT THE NATIONWIDE TOUR
As an extension of the PGA TOUR, the Nationwide Tour identifies and transitions those few, select golfers whose games are ready to compete and win on golf’s greatest stage. In 2007, Nationwide Tour alumni have currently won 199 PGA TOUR events, which includes 10 major championships. Twenty-five PGA TOUR cards will be at stake over the course of 33 Nationwide Tour tournaments this season, with a record $18.6 million in prize money available. 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 recently surpassed the $1 billion mark in charitable giving. To learn more about the Nationwide Tour's rich history and the PGA TOUR’s next stars, visit www.PGATOUR.com.