SEVEN. That’s the number of PGA TOUR wins by Portland Alums since the 2016 tournament concluded on August 28th. Just twelve events into the PGA TOUR season more than half of the trophies have been hoisted by players who teed it up here in Portland. Justin Thomas (Portland Class of 2014) and Cody Gribble (2016) both won before the month of October concluded. Since then Rod Pampling (2015) and Mackenzie Hughes (2016) have notched wins on the big stage. It is Thomas however who has been the toast of the PGA TOUR this season. After winning the CIMB Classic in Malaysia for the second consecutive year Thomas has set a torrid pace in 2017. In the first event of the calendar year Thomas cleared the field by three strokes at the SBS Tournament of Champions. For an encore he fired a round of 59 to open the Sony Open the very next week, becoming just the seventh player in PGA TOUR history to do so. There was no letup from there, Thomas went on to set the 72-hole scoring record on his way to his second consecutive win posting 27-under par 253 to run away with a seven shot victory.
The season is young and Portland Alums have dominated the headlines to this point, stay tuned as the next generation of golf continues to pile up the wins. With 15 PGA TOUR wins in less than three years it is clear that the path to the PGA TOUR runs through Portland.
(NORTH PLAINS, OR December 13, 2016) The WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft Heinz announced today that the event raised a record $1,250,000 for charity in 2016, growing the three year total to over $3.1 Million since the inaugural tournament in 2014.
“We are very proud that our event has now raised over $3 million for charity,” said Jeff Sanders, Tournament Executive Director at the events annual charity luncheon. “It’s a thrill for us to give back to these great charities and ensure that they continue their invaluable efforts for the Greater Portland community.”
A portion of the charity funds are generated through the Nabisco TICKETS Fore CHARITY program in which non-profit organizations sell tournament tickets and receive 100% of the proceeds. In 2016 more than 160 charities from the greater Portland area registered to participate and sell tickets. Today the 30 highest selling organizations were on hand at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club, where each was presented with their check.
The tournament estimates a local economic impact of about $6-8 million each year and over $20 million in total over the last three years as patrons travel from all over the Northwest and even across the country to attend. In 2016, there were more than 3.8 Million viewers of the Golf Channel live coverage which broadcasts all four rounds around the world.
“The rapid growth and results in just three years have been very exciting” said Pat McCabe, Tournament Director. “This tournament has a tremendously positive impact throughout Portland and the Northwest.” McCabe added, “We cannot thank WinCo Foods and our incredible Portland area sponsors enough for their support this year.”
The 2017 WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft Heinz returns to Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club August 21-27, 2017. To be part of the excitement, visit our tickets page, and as always 100% of your ticket purchase goes to the charity of your choice!
(NORTH PLAINS, OR) For the third consecutive year, Pumpkin Ridge hosted the world’s best golfers as they played the four most important rounds of their season. As the Regular Season Finale, Portland is where players arrive hoping to punch their ticket to the PGA TOUR. Twenty events precede the WinCo Foods Portland Open; however it is here where anything can happen and always does. Take a look at some of the most fascinating story lines that played out in Portland this year.
Drive for Show, Putt for… a PGA TOUR Card… For Rick Lamb this was exactly the scenario that led to him receiving his PGA TOUR card. Lamb entered the week ranked 27th and needed a strong finish to jump into the coveted top 25. He responded to the pressure by firing a final round score of 68, including a birdie on the 18th hole to move him into the 24th position and flying home with a PGA TOUR card amongst his luggage.
The Waiting Game… Players on the course weren’t the only ones watching names ebb and flow in and out of The 25. Joel Dahmen, a native of Clarkston, WA entered the week ranked 22nd on the money list but missed the cut on Friday and was perhaps the most interested spectator come Sunday afternoon. There was a point when his name was in the dreaded 26th position however things fell in Dahmen’s favor as he finished squarely on the bubble landing 25th on Sunday and leaving Portland with his TOUR card.
A 68 a Day Keeps a PGA TOUR Card in Play… Mark Anderson, whose wife was due with their child any day heading into the weekend certainly had plenty on his mind as play began. Anderson entered the weekend in need of two stellar rounds to have a chance at his PGA TOUR card. Anderson shot scores of 68 on both Saturday and Sunday to jump from 51st to 16th on the money list and cap a whirlwind weekend with his PGA TOUR Card.
Sunday Belongs to Sparty… Solid from start to finish, our champion and former Michigan State golf coach Ryan Brehm charged out of the gates on Thursday with a round of 63 and he never looked back. Brehm calmly picked apart the challenging Witch Hollow layout on Sunday and stood on the 18th tee with a two shot lead. Twenty minutes later he was holding the trophy and had locked up his spot on the PGA TOUR next season.
(NORTH PLAINS, OR) Each year 25 players leave Pumpkin Ridge with their PGA TOUR Card for the upcoming season and inevitably some of those players find their way to stardom. Names from past years include Justin Thomas (Portland Class of ’14, 2016 CIMB Classic Champion), Smylie Kaufman (Class of ’15, 2016 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open Champion), and Daniel Berger (Class of ’14, 2015 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year & 2016 FedEx St. Jude Classic Champion). It’s only a matter of time before the stars of the Portland Class of ’16 emerge, here are a few names to keep an eye on this PGA TOUR Season.
Richy Werenski- Finishing 2nd on the Regular Season Money List, Werenski arrived in Portland with his place in Sunday’s 25 Card Ceremony assured. Not one to rest on his laurels Werenski surged to a strong T11 finish here in Portland. Winner of the Big Break Palm Beaches season, Werenski shines brightest when the spotlight is on him, and is off and running this season with a T35 finish in the PGA TOUR Season Opener the Safeway Open.
Cheng Tsung Pan- 2016 was a big year for the former University of Washington Husky. Pan represented Chinese Taipei in Rio before coming to Portland where he locked up his PGA TOUR Card after a T4 finish. Pan has all the makings of a star ranking inside the top 10 on the Web.com Tour in putting, scoring average, and all around driving.
Ollie Schniederjans- An outstanding amateur, Schniederjans held the title of #1 ranked amateur in the world for 41 weeks during his time at Georgia Tech. Furthering his credentials Ollie was a 3 time All American and 2 Time ACC Player of the Year. Entering the season Schniederjans had lofty expectations to live up to and did so by finishing 7th on the Money List and securing his PGA TOUR Card in Portland. Look for Ollie near the top of PGA TOUR leaderboards next season as he makes our list of players to watch from the Class of 2016.
Trey Mullinax- Another outstanding amateur player, Trey was part of the Alabama golf team that made history winning back to back National Championships in 2013 & 2014. Mullinax bruises his way around the golf course averaging 305 yards off the tee, an attribute that will suit him nicely on the PGA TOUR. A winner at the Rex Hospital Open, Trey found himself in the Top 10 on 3 other occasions throughout the season. Looking to join his former teammate and Portland alum Justin Thomas as one of the young stars of the PGA TOUR, look for Mullinax to do just that in 2017.
(NORTH PLAINS, OR July 26, 2016) With the third installment of the WinCo Foods Portland Open set to tee off in less than a month, tournament organizers are hard at work while also knowing that they will get to do so again in 2017.
The Web.com Tour event will return for a fourth year after agreements were finalized with WinCo Foods and Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club. This year’s tournament will be held at the Witch Hollow course Aug. 25-28, and the event will return to Pumpkin Ridge’s private side in 2017.
“There was some discussion about us playing Ghost Creek,” tournament executive director Jeff Sanders said, referring to the facility’s public 18. “But we’re actually going to continue to play, in our fourth year, Witch Hollow.”
Tournament organizers held a news conference at Pumpkin Ridge on Monday to publicize this year’s event and tout the accomplishments of the first two years. Chief among them was raising $1,875,000 for local charities, including $1,150,000 from the 2015 version, which event officials touted as the most ever contributed to charity by a golf tournament in the state of Oregon.
“WinCo has always prided itself in giving back to its community, and this WinCo Foods Portland Open has opened the door for us to do even more, which we really appreciate,” said Steven Goddard, president and CEO of WinCo Foods.
Sanders says golf fans in the Portland area have grasped that the Web.com Tour is no longer the developmental tour it was when it started as the Nike Tour in 1990 and golfers would spend a few years on it learning how to play professionally before graduating to the PGA Tour.
Instead, Sanders says, the Web.com Tour is a highly-competitive circuit with a deep pool of golfers who are PGA Tour caliber.
“It’s not minor league-major league anymore, it’s all an expansion of the PGA Tour brand,” Sanders said. “These guys are good enough to go out and win on the PGA Tour.”
Indeed, players who played in the first two Portland Opens have won 10 PGA Tour titles in the last two years.
Veteran touring pro Ryan Armour, 40, has played all over the globe, including the PGA Tour. He says he is most struck by the Web.com Tour’s depth.
“Having played pretty much everywhere in the last 18 years since I turned pro, it is harder to make a cut on the Web.com Tour than it is is Europe,” said Armour, who is No. 9 on the season money list. “Now, it may be harder to win in Europe, but it is harder to make a cut on the Web.com Tour. That’s how deep the field is.”
The Portland Open is the 21st tournament on the tour’s calendar, and the final event of the regular season. The top 25 on the money list at the end of play on Aug. 28 will receive PGA Tour cards for the 2016-17 season (under the PGA Tour’s “wrap-around” format, the new season starts in October), with a ceremony on the 18th green typically full of strong story lines and emotions.
The tournament also sets up the participants for the Web.Com Tour Finals, a four-tournament stretch that follows the Portland stop and through which an additional 25 PGA Tour cards are earned. The top 75 on the Web.com Tour money list at the end of the regular season are joined by the top 75 golfers from the PGA Tour who did not make the FedExCup playoffs.
The PGA Tour has eliminated its qualifying tournament, instead issuing cards through the Web.Com Tour, giving the circuit far greater weight than it used to have in its developmental tour years.
Because the Portland Open is in such a crucial spot on the calendar, it does not have some of the opportunities that other Web.com tournaments offer, such as spots in the field for locally-connected golfers through sponsor’s exemptions and Monday qualifying. The Portland field is limited to the top 156 golfers in the money list.
That why, for example, Lagardere Sports, the company that runs the event through its golf event arm in Beaverton, cannot give a sponsor’s exemption to Aaron Wise, the NCAA champion from the University of Oregon who has turned professional and is competing on the Mackenzie Tour (also known as PGA Tour Canada), where he tied for 10th in his first two starts. Lagardere signed Wise to the management and marketing deal, making him an obvious choice for a sponsor’s exemption, if one was available.
The tournament should still have local connections in the field. Jesuit High School graduate Scott Harrington will play in it for the third year, and at 49th on the money list, is in position to advance to the Finals for the first time.
Also, former Oregon State standout Diego Velazquez is 108th on the money list, and Ashland High graduate Jason Allred, hoping to return to the PGA Tour for a third time, is 147th.
Sanders figures it will take about $150,000 to finish in the top 25 on the money list, and the winner in Portland will earn $144,000.
— Mike Tokito, Oregonian
(NORTH PLAINS, OR July 25, 2016) Pro golfers are inherently gamblers. They are always betting on their talents, that they can play better and finish higher than they figure to.That adds a bit of intrigue to the Web.com Tour’s $800,000 WinCo Foods Portland Open Aug. 25-28 at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club.
For instance, 2015 WinCo Foods champion Dicky Pride – who qualified for his PGA Tour card with the win – has had less than a banner year on the PGA Tour. Pride has missed 14 of 17 cuts, made $62,449 in earnings and is 221st in the FedExCup points chase and 532nd in the World Golf Rankings. Barring a miracle, he won’t retain his PGA Tour card for next season.
The 2014 WinCo Foods Portland Open winner, Carlos Ortiz, is in a similar predicament. Ortiz has made $159,816 on this year’s PGA Tour, standing 182nd in FedExCup and 475th in World Golf Rankings.
However, both golfers could choose to play a few of the remaining Web.com events – including Portland – and finish among the top 25 on the tour, which would qualify them for an automatic PGA Tour card for 2017.
“We think between $140,000 and $150,000 in earnings will get you in the top 25 on the Web.com Tour,” says Jeff Sanders, executive vice president with Lagadere Sports, which stages the WinCo Foods Portland Open. “Our winner will earn $144,000. So you can probably win our tournament and get your PGA Tour card, which they may have lost (with their play on the PGA Tour this season).
“These guys think they can win at Pumpkin Ridge because they’ve won here before. Plus, they’ve played the PGA Tour, so they just think they should win.”
With or without Pride or Ortiz, 156 golfers will tee it up in late August at Pumpkin Ridge with 25 PGA Tour cards on the line. It’s the final regular-season event of the Web.com Tour, so the top 25 money-winners for the year after Portland will get their 2017 PGA Tour cards.
“We love being the ’25-card’ event,” Sanders says. “We love that these guys are fighting it out. We love that emotion and competition. There’s something about the competition when you’re fighting for a card.
“It’s a big deal. It’s fun to be at the end of the year, where we’re under the spotlight and everything is riding on our tournament.”
Not all of those who earn PGA Tour cards from their performance on the Web.com Tour have failed on the major circuit. Nine players who have earned PGA Tour cards after playing Portland the past two years have won PGA Tour events since, including Justin Thomas, Smylie Kaufman, Fabian Gomez and Peter Malnati.
Kaufman earned his card last August, and less than two months later, won his first PGA tournament, the Shriners Hospital for Children Open at Las Vegas. That qualified Kaufman for the Masters, and after shooting 73-72-69, he played in the final twosome at Augusta on Sunday with defending champion Jordan Spieth. Kaufman skied to a final-round 81 and wound up tied for 29th, but he is 19th in FedExCup and 61st in World Golf Rankings this year.
Then there is Harold Varner III, who claimed the 25th and final PGA Tour card at Portland last year. Varner has made $1,265,844 on the PGA Tour this season, ranking 72nd.
These are the stories that Sanders and tournament director Pat McCabe send out as evidence that participants in Portland are among the very best players in the world.
Wesley Bryan, 26, is the leading money-winner on the Web.com Tour in 2016 with $332,392. He’ll be in Portland along with Trey Mullinax (seventh), Ryan Armour (ninth) and Joel Dahmen (15th), who were at Pumpkin Ridge on Monday for media day.
When he began its association with what is now the Web.com Tour in 1990 with a tournament in Boise, Sanders – a Sunset High grad and Portland resident – wanted to bring an event to his hometown.
“They said the market was too big,” he says. “We’re still in Boise, but almost 30 years later, Portland isn’t too big anymore. The Web.com Tour also has events in Chicago and Cleveland now. We’ve expanded into major-league markets.”
Aside from top-caliber golf, the WinCo Foods Portland Open features a commitment to charity, youth golf and entertainment.
Tournament officials allow representatives of local charities to sell tickets – priced at $10 for a daily pass, $25 for the week – and keep 100 percent of the proceeds. The 2014 tournament reaped $725,000 for charities. Last year’s event generated $1.15 million.
“Last year, we did $320,000 in ticket sales,” McCabe says. “We’ve already hit that number in 2016. Our leading (charity) group has sold about $70,000 in tickets. We’re hoping to be at $1.2 million or $1.3 million (in charitable contributions), based on how remaining ticket sales go.”
The dollar figures are that high because WinCo Portland Foods provides added funds to charities on top of ticket sales.
“In some cases, WinCo rewarded ticket-sellers dollar for dollar,” McCabe says.
“We’ll be over the $3 million mark in our three years,” Sanders says. “In our second year, we gave more money to charity than any tournament every played in the state of Oregon. Hopefully, we’ll beat that record this year.”
Sanders’ original three-year contract with WinCo Foods as title sponsor has been extended a year, meaning the tournament will be back at Pumpkin Ridge in 2017.
“We’re excited about the future,” he says. “WinCo has been a fantastic title sponsor, and we have 40 or 50 local companies that serve as sponsors, too. We’ve had a great response from Portland businesses.
“WinCo’s No. 1, 2 and 3 priorities with our event is charity. There’s no money leaving Portland, which is very important. In many cases, money raised for charity at a golf tournament doesn’t all stay with that market. That’s not the case here. We think that’s great. It’s motivating.”
A free Nike-sponsored junior clinic on Thursday includes lunch, a cap and a one-hour lesson from a Web.com player. Nearly 500 kids attended the clinic last year.
“Rather than have pros hit draws and fades, the kids get to line up and take a lesson from a pro who is playing in the tournament,” Sanders says. “He’ll sign a hat for each kid. We’re trying to help grow the game. Maybe this experience helps motivate a boy or girl to take up the game and play.”
After Saturday’s round, country singer James Otto will perform a free concert off the 18th green.
Attendance for the 2015 event was about 40,000, “but we had bad weather on the weekend,” Sanders says. “We hope to have bigger crowds this year.”
Lagadere Sports now is involved with six events per year, including a pair on the PGA Tour. Sanders’ group will run the Safeway Open scheduled for October at Silverado Country Club in Napa, California. And it has been hired as management consultant for the CareerBuilder Challenge at PGA West in La Quinta, California – formerly the Bob Hope Desert Classic – in January. Sanders, 60, played in that event as a PGA pro.
“Makes me feel real old,” he says. “It’s one of my favorite places. I just love going there. We’ll help them redesign the tournament, bring in some fresh ideas and set it up for a long-term bright future.”
Charities will benefit from all of the Lagadere events.
“We’ll raise almost $7 million,” Sanders says.
Lagadere has more than 30 full-time employees, 18 of them out of its Beaverton office.
“We’re always going to be in Beaverton, and from Beaverton,” Sanders says. “I love what we’ve been able to do, growing from a small organization to what we’ve become.”
(PORTLAND, OR December 1, 2015) WinCo Foods Executives, tournament sponsors, benefitting charities, special guests and the Lagardѐre Sports Events Team gathered today at the Multnomah Athletic Club in Portland for the announcement of the overall charitable impact of the 2015 WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft Heinz. WinCo Foods Senior Vice President of Operations North, Hank Fitchett announced today that the tournament generated $1,150,320 for local charities, which ranked third highest in charitable contributions on the 2015 Web.com Tour. All of us at WinCo Foods were thrilled with the event, and we are ecstatic with the $1,150,320 that will be going back to Oregon charities and are looking forward to next year, commented Fitchett.
Paired with the $725,000 the tournament generated for charity in 2014, the 2015 total brings the two-year charitable contribution from the WinCo Foods Portland Open to nearly TWO MILLION DOLLARS. The $1,150,320 raised from the 2015 event is believed to be the highest charitable contribution in Oregon professional golf history.
WinCo Foods will distribute the charitable funds through the WinCo Foods Foundation, which focuses on giving back in the areas of youth well being and education, military veterans and their families, and continuing efforts to fight the battle against hunger. Over 100 charities in Oregon and Southwest Washington will receive financial support from the WinCo Foods Portland Open through the WinCo Foods Foundation.
Contributing to this charitable outcome, WinCo Foods donated ALL ticket sales back to the local community, and 100% of the revenue from every ticket sold was given to charity through the Nabisco TICKETS Fore CHARITY program. This program gave over 160 Portland-area non-profit organizations the opportunity to sell tournament tickets and keep 100% of all the proceeds from their ticket sales. Nearly $320,000 in tickets were sold to the event, which doubled 2014 ticket sales, and Portland Youth For Christ led the way with over $75,000. Nabisco was also generous enough to provide a $50,000 Bonus Pool to reward the non-profits for their efforts, bringing the 2015 TICKETS Fore CHARITY grand total to nearly $370,000.
WinCo Foods Portland Open Executive Director Jeff Sanders pointed out the remarkable efforts of the participating charities, saying, The non-profit organizations that participate in the Nabisco TICKETS Fore CHARITY program work extremely hard selling our tickets and the partnership with the tournament is truly a win-win. The charities benefit from the revenue they earn from selling our tournament tickets and keeping 100% of the dollars generated, and the tournament benefits from increased attendance. Many participating charities are already looking ahead and focusing their attention on their 2016 sales efforts.
The caliber of competition during the first two years of the WinCo Foods Portland Open has been exceptional, and Oregon golf fans have had the pleasure of witnessing some soon-to-be STARS on the PGA TOUR at Pumpkin Ridge. 2014 and 2015 WinCo Foods Portland Open graduates have quickly proved they belong with the worlds best golfers, and their immediate impact on the PGA TOUR is undeniable. Smylie Kaufman won the Shriners Hospitals for Childrens Open in October in his first start as a rookie on the PGA TOUR just eight weeks after playing the WinCo Foods Portland Open and earning his PGA TOUR Card on Sunday at Pumpkin Ridge. 2014 WinCo Foods Portland Open and Web.com Tour alum Justin Thomas won the very next week at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia, and most recently 2015 WinCo Foods Portland Open graduate Peter Malnati claimed his first win at the Sanderson Farms Championship, marking the fourth win in as many weeks for 2014 and 2015 Web.com Tour graduates to kick-off the 2015-2016 PGA TOUR season.
Next years WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft will be played August 22-28, 2016. Once again, 156 of the best golfers in the world will battle it out to earn one of 25 PGA TOUR Cards to be awarded at the conclusion of play on Sunday to the players who finish the regular season in the Top 25 on the Web.com Tour money list. Thanks to the Nabisco TICKETS Fore CHARITY program, 100% of all ticket sales support local charities. For more information, please visit www.WinCoGolf.com.
Tournament Director, WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft Heinz
ABOUT THE WINCO FOODS PORTLAND OPEN PRESENTED BY KRAFT HEINZ
Now entering its third year, the WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft Heinz is the final Regular Season event of the Web.com Tour. Dicky Pride captured the title in August at Witch Hollow at Pumpkin Ridge with a score of 20-under par. Next years WinCo Foods Portland Open will be played August 25-28, 2016, and once again 25 PGA TOUR cards will be awarded on Sunday to the players who finish the regular season in the Top 25 on the money list. Thanks to the Nabisco TICKETS Fore CHARITY program, 100% of all ticket sales support local charities. The WinCo Foods Portland Open generated nearly $2 Million for Oregon and SW Washington charities in its first two years. For more information, please visit www.WinCoGolf.com.
ABOUT THE WEB.COM TOUR
Founded (1990), owned and operated by the PGA TOUR, the Web.Com Tour continues to identify those players who are ready to compete and win on golf’s biggest stage. In an historic 2013 season, the Web.com Tour became The Path to the PGA TOUR with all 50 available PGA TOUR cards coming through the Web.com Tour and the season culminating at the four-event Web.com Tour Finals. Three out of four PGA TOUR members are Web.com Tour alumni. Tour alumni have won 425 PGA TOUR titles, including 21 majors and five PLAYERS Championships. The PGA TOUR, through the efforts of its tours and their tournaments, sponsors, players and volunteers, surpassed $2 billion in charitable giving in Jan. 2014. To learn more about the PGA TOUR and Web.com Tour and to follow the season-long quest for a PGA TOUR card, visit PGATOUR.COM, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
ABOUT LAGARDÈRE SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
A division of the Lagardère Group dedicated to Sports and Entertainment, Lagardère Sports deploys its international expertise in six complementary business lines: Events management; Talent representation; Stadium & Arena operations; Marketing services and brand activation; Media rights production and distribution; and sports academy management. Lagardère Sports has more than 1,300 employees and conducts business in more than 20 countries. Current Lagardère Golf clients include PGA TOUR stars Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Davis Love III, Luke Donald, and Keegan Bradley. The Lagardère Sports and Entertainment Golf Event Management Division is based in Beaverton, Oregon and is led by industry veteran Jeff Sanders.
Jeff Sanders makes second annual golf tourney one big party
Jeff Sanders is all about golf, but he is very much about entertainment, too.
The promoter of the Web.com Tour’s WinCo Foods Open hopes everyone will enjoy the marriage of those two entities when the top 156 players on the secondary men’s pro golf tour tee it up Aug. 27-30 at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club.
Sanders — the former Sunset High and University of Oregon standout and longtime Portland resident — would resent the “secondary” label.
“There are 200 golfers on the PGA Tour and 175 on the Web.com Tour,” Sanders points out. “Compare that to the numbers in the pro sports leagues.”
Well, about 450 players comprise NBA rosters. There are about 1,800 in the NFL, 700 in the NHL and 750 in major league baseball.
A dozen of those who played the Web.com Tour a year ago are among the top 100 in the PGA Tour’s FedExCup rankings, and three — Daniel Berger, Justin Thomas and Tony Finau — have won PGA Tour events this year. In all, there have been 17 tournament victories on the PGA Tour by Web.com graduates this season. Among the PGA Tour regulars who played the Web.com Tour in the past are Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson, Zach Johnson, Ernie Els, Tom Lehman, Jim Furyk, Brandt Snedeker and Matt Kuchar.
“The Web.com Tour is almost a horizontal expansion of the PGA Tour these days,” Sanders says.
It’s younger than the PGA Tour, with up-and-comers who form a line hoping to be the PGA Tour stars of tomorrow.
The WinCo Foods Open made its debut last year at Pumpkin Ridge, with about 40,000 fans watching the four days of action and Carlos Ortiz — the leading 2014 Web.com Tour money-winner — shooting 14-under-par 274 to take home the top prize.
Bigger, better, more fun is what Sanders projects from the second staging of the tournament this year.
“Last year was the launch year; you’re just trying to get the thing up in the air,” says Sanders, executive vice president/events and sponsorships for Lagardere Unlimited, the French company that runs the event. “This year, we’ve had more time to focus on frosting the cake.”
Quality golf remains the crux, with 156 Web.com players vying for the golden carrot — a PGA Tour card that will be presented at tournament’s end to the tour’s top 25 money-winners for the year to that point.
The player who wins the $800,000 WinCo Foods Open will reap $144,000, “and even if he has zero earnings for the year, that will probably get him into the top 25 and a (PGA Tour) card, a lifetime dream for these guys,” Sanders says. “That’s what all these guys are shooting for. It’s super competitive.”
The WinCo Foods Open is all about charities, too, who sell the tickets and keep 100 percent of the proceeds. Last year, 120 Portland-area charities made about $750,000.
“We’ll give more money this year,” Sanders says. “We have 160 charities selling tickets. They’re about $125,000 ahead of where they were a year ago at this point. The biggest selling time is the month before the tournament, so we’re in a great spot.
“The most important thing to WinCo Foods was to give back to the community. That was their No. 1, 2 and 3 priority. I’m happy to say we’ll exceed $1 million this year. It’s just a matter of where we’ll finish above that mark.”
Sanders’ group — known as “Jeff Sanders Promotions” until signing on with Lagardere on Dec. 31, 2013 — has run the Web.com Tour’s Albertson’s Boise Open for 26 years, and just re-signed for four more years.
“This year, (Albertson’s) gave $1.5 million to charities,” Sanders says. “In our second year in Portland, we’ll be over $1 million. We’re off to a great start.”
The WinCo Foods Open has sold out all the 108 teams for the two-day pro-am event, has sold most of the available sponsorships and has sold 13 suites and skyboxes along the 18th hole.
When Sanders Promotions staged the 1996 U.S. Amateur and the ‘97 U.S. Women’s Open at Pumpkin Ridge, “we had other locations (for suites and skyboxes) on the course,” he says. “Next year, we’ll try to take the number from 13 up to 20 or so, and build it year by year.”
Then there is the entertainment package, highlighted by a hospitality area on the par-3 12th hole called The Grove. The PGA Tour’s Phoenix Open is famous for its “amphitheater” atmosphere at the 16th hole — one big party unto itself.
“We’re trying to go there,” Sanders says. “We’ll have a big open area selling 12 local craft brews. If you have a ticket, the first five tastings are complimentary, so essentially, your first pint is free. For 15 minutes after every birdie made on the hole, there will be half-price beers. There will be great food available to go with it, and players will walk by to sign autographs and high-five the fans.”
In addition, Mercedes-Benz of Wilsonville is running a promotion where if a pro makes a hole-in-one at No. 12, a fan will win a car.
“No limits, either,” Sanders says. “If we get a hole-in-one all four days, we’ll give away four cars.”
WinCo Foods will serve a free brunch to all ticket-holders on Sunday. Parking is free through the entire tournament. A free junior clinic, sponsored by Nike, will be staged on Thursday, conducted by the pros. All the kids will be given a “swag bag” from Nike. Former Eagles guitarist Don Felder will perform at the pro-am dinner Monday night and local groups will play music behind the 18th green at the conclusion of play on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
“We’re trying to build a great event that’s more than a golf tournament,” Sanders says. “It’s great golf, but it’s also just a lot of fun.”
Sanders is in the second year of a three-year contract operating the WinCo Foods Open, which will be televised live all four days by The Golf Channel.
“We hope to add some more years to it,” he says. “We’re going to have to knock it out of the park this year, and, hopefully, everybody will be happy.”
Jeff Sanders Promotions founded in 1987, began staging tournaments with the 1990 Albertson’s Boise Open and has run 250 events over the years. The acquisition by Lagardere has allowed Sanders — who has 15 full-time employees along with 10 “roadies” — to focus on the golf side of the business. Lagardere — with an international base in Paris and major offices in New York, Los Angeles and Scottsdale, Ariz. — has a player management side that handles 50 players, including Phil Mickelson and Jordan Spieth.
“We’re the golf event division of the company,” Sanders says. The partnership “has gone fantastic. Everything these people have promised, they’ve delivered. They’ve supported us; they’ve let us do our jobs. I’m traveling a lot, looking at opportunities not just in golf, but for other sports.
“This gives me the opportunity to look at bigger things for the company — a more high-profile platform. These are things we’ve wanted to do, but we didn’t have the resources. Now we have the resources to do pretty much anything that makes good sense.”
Sanders’ group operates the two Web.com tournaments plus four two-day events — two in Scottsdale, one each in Jacksonville, Fla., and Boston — that he says generate “between $750,000 and $3 million in charity a year.”
Sanders says he is most thrilled to give his hometown an opportunity to watch “big-time golf” on his own home course — the former PGA Tour player has been a Pumpkin Ridge member since 1992. He predicts a score of 15-under will win on a Witch Hollow track set up at about 7,000 yards.
“Witch Hollow is tough when the greens are firm and fast,” Sanders says. “You have to hit the ball in the fairway to get the ball close to the hole. Last year, 13-under was leading after two rounds and 14-under won. The wind came up a little bit, the ball started to move around, the greens got firm and the course got tough.
“Whatever happens, there’s going to be a lot of drama unfold over the weekend. It’s a win-win for everybody.”
25 PGA TOUR Cards will be awarded on Sunday at the 2015 Web.com Tour Regular Season finale hosted by Pumpkin Ridge at Witch Hollow
(North Plains, Oregon – July 27, 2015) – WinCo Foods Executives, Web.com Tour professionals, media representatives, sponsors and special guests visited Pumpkin Ridge today to kick-off the second annual WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft Heinz, which will be played Portland’s famed Witch Hollow at Pumpkin Ridge August 27th through the 30th at Witch Hollow.
Northwest natives and Web.com Tour members Jeff Gove and Brock Mackenzie, along with PGA TOUR winner and current Web.com Tour player Tommy “Two Gloves” Gainey, answered questions and gave their perspective on the Regular Season-ending event at Pumpkin Ridge. All are extremely excited to have their shot at Witch Hollow’s beautiful and challenging layout, which carries a storied past, including Tiger Woods’ unprecedented third consecutive U.S. Amateur title.
The Web.com Tour will tee it up at August 27th – 30th for the second annual WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft Heinz. 156 of the world’s best golfers will compete for the final Web.com Tour Regular Season tournament title as they battle it out for their ultimate goal: PGA TOUR membership. Given its position on the Web.com Tour schedule, the WinCo Foods Portland Open will receive attention from national and international golf communities. The 4-day tournament offers players the final opportunity to finish among the Top-25 Regular Season money winners for 2015. At the conclusion of play on Sunday, August 30th, a WinCo Foods Portland Open champion will be crowned and those 25 leading money earners will have secured the first 25 PGA TOUR cards for the 2015-16 season.
The WinCo Foods Portland Open recently announced some of its special events for the week. Kids Day is Thursday, August 27th and will have activities, games, mascots, prizes and giveaways. The Nike Golf Junior Clinic will begin Thursday at 2:00 PM, and will feature an interactive format where junior golfers will rotate between stations as they receive instructions and advice from Web.com Tour pros. Free lunch will be served to all junior golfers beginning at 1:00 PM. All junior golfers and their families are encouraged to attend this special day at Ghost Creek at Pumpkin Ridge. Clubs will be provided, so please leave your clubs at home.
The tournament announced that “The Grove on 12” will have ten Northwest craft breweries on-site sampling some of their most delicious beers. The tournament will also host a three-part live music series on-site at Pumpkin Ridge Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings. All WinCo Foods Portland Open ticket holders who are 21-and-older will receive five free craft brew tastings per day upon entrance into the grounds. Pints will also be served, and there will be special-priced beers for every birdie made by the pros on the adjacent 12th Hole. All WinCo Foods Portland Open ticket holders are granted admission for the live music and beer tastings with their daily or weekly golf ticket.
There will be a Free Pancake Brunch at Pumpkin Ridge for all ticket holders on Final Round Sunday beginning at 10 AM. Adding some suspense to the weekend, if a Web.com Tour Pro makes a hole-in-one on the short par-3 12th Hole Thursday through Sunday, a lucky fan will win a brand new Mercedes-Benz thanks to Mercedes-Benz of Wilsonville.
WinCo Foods has committed to give 100% of all ticket sales revenue from this event to deserving charities and youth organizations in Oregon and Southwest Washington. Over 160 local non-profit organizations are currently selling tickets and keeping 100% of the revenue from their sales through the Nabisco TICKETS Fore CHARITY™ program. Tickets start as low as $15 for any one day, or $25 for the entire week. Parking will be free all week and kids 17-and-under will be admitted free (even without a ticketed adult).
The WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft Heinz will be broadcast live on Golf Channel all four days in the U.S. and be seen in over 120 million homes in 83 countries. Web.com Tour professionals will compete for a purse of $800,000, ranking it near the top of all Tour events on the 2015 schedule. The tournament winner will receive $144,000.
For more information or to buy tickets, visit www.WinCoGolf.com.
(PORTLAND, OR – April 14, 2015) – “The 25” who got their PGA TOUR cards on Sunday at the 2014 WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft at Pumpkin Ridge are making an immediate impact on the 2015 PGA TOUR. Two 2014 WinCo Foods Portland Open participants have already won this season on the PGA TOUR – Alex Cejka claimed his first career PGA TOUR victory at the Puerto Rico Open and Nick Taylor earned his first win at the Sanderson Farms Championship. Daniel Berger, Steve Wheatcroft, and Jon Curran have already notched Runner-Up finishes. Many of the other WinCo Foods Portland Open graduates are proving they belong and earning solid results as we head into the thick of the 2015 PGA TOUR Season, including 2014 WinCo Foods Portland Open Champion Carlos Ortiz, who already has six Top-25 finishes. Tony Finau has been bombing drives throughout the season and has risen to be one of the longest drivers on the PGA TOUR. Below is a brief update of where “The 25” who earned their 2015 PGA TOUR cards in Portland this past August currently stand on the PGA TOUR:
2015 Puerto Rico Open Champion
Five 2015 PGA TOUR Top 25s
Runner-Up, 2015 Honda Classic
Three 2015 PGA TOUR Top 10s
Eight 2015 PGA TOUR Top 25s
4th in 2015 PGA TOUR Driving Distance
Six 2015 PGA TOUR Top 25s
Two 2015 PGA TOUR Top 10s
4th Place, 2015 Sanderson Farms Championship
7th place, 2015 Humana Challenge
Four 2015 PGA TOUR Top 10s
Six 2015 PGA TOUR Top 25s
9th Place, 2015 OHL Classic at Mayakoba
Runner-Up, 2015 Puerto Rico Open
Two 2015 PGA TOUR Top 10s
3rd Place, 2015 OHL Classic at Mayakoba
Two 2015 PGA TOUR Top 10s
8th Place, 2015 Northern Trust Open
Five 2015 PGA TOUR Top 25s
12th Place, 2015 Frys.com Open
Eight 2015 PGA TOUR made cuts
Runner-Up, 2015 Humana Challenge
Two 2015 PGA TOUR Top 25s
6th Place, 2015 Sony Open
Six 2015 PGA TOUR made cuts
Three 2015 PGA TOUR Top 25s
Two 2015 PGA TOUR Top 25s
Two 2015 PGA TOUR Top 10s
Four 2015 PGA TOUR made cuts
Three 2015 PGA TOUR made cuts
16th Place, 2015 Valero Texas Open
Six 2015 PGA TOUR made cuts
Three 2015 PGA TOUR Top 25s
Five 2015 PGA TOUR made cuts
Eight 2015 PGA TOUR made cuts
Three 2015 PGA TOUR made cuts
Three 2015 PGA TOUR made cuts
Five 2015 PGA TOUR made cuts
Three 2015 PGA TOUR made cuts
14th on 2015 PGA TOUR in Strokes Gained: Putting
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