LAKE BUENA VISTA
-- In a milestone multi-year agreement between the PGA TOUR, Walt Disney World Resort and Children's Miracle Network, the TOUR's final stop of the season has been named the Children's Miracle Network Classic. The agreement, which runs through 2012, marks the first time the Children's Miracle Network name has been prominently associated with a professional sports event.
In recognition of the 20 years of Children's Miracle Network support from Wal-Mart and Sam's Club, the full name of the 2007 tournament will be the Children's Miracle Network Classic presented by Wal-Mart. This year's event -- part of the PGA TOUR's Fall Series -- is scheduled for Oct. 29-Nov. 4. It will be held on the Magnolia and Palm courses at Walt Disney World Resort, which will remain the host and operator of the tournament as it has since the PGA TOUR first held an event there in 1971. GOLF CHANNEL will televise all four rounds of competition.
"This is an exciting relationship that partners one of the most respected and effective youth-focused charities in Children's Miracle Network with an international family destination and the PGA TOUR, which has a long history of supporting children's charities through its tournaments and members," said PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem. "In fact, quite a number of our players already support children's hospitals that are associated with Children's Miracle Network. This is a truly unique sponsorship arrangement that will benefit all parties."
Children's Miracle Network will utilize underwriting support provided by its corporate partners to offset tournament costs. The children's charity looks forward to bringing its international fundraising expertise to the tournament. Over the course of the agreement Children's Miracle Network hopes to make the Classic one of the most successful fund raising stops on the TOUR.
"Entering into this unique partnership is one of several new and innovative steps we've taken in the past 18 months to increase both awareness and funding for our 170 children's hospitals," said Children's Miracle Network President and CEO Jim Hall. "We're extremely grateful to our dedicated and loyal partners, like Wal-Mart, who make opportunities like this possible. This event will help us reach audiences we've never before reached and will thrust us onto a very big, national stage. That's a challenge we take very seriously and look forward to accomplishing for the kids."
Over the past 36 years, the Disney stop has been a popular tournament for TOUR players, particularly those with families. Jack Nicklaus won the first three Disney titles, before the format changed to a two-man team competition in 1974. It then returned to stroke play in 1982 when Hal Sutton became champion, marking his first PGA TOUR victory. Six players subsequently captured their first individual TOUR titles at Disney, including 2005 champion Lucas Glover. Several players also have multiple victories, the most recent being Tiger Woods (1996, 1999). Joe Durant is the defending champion.
"Making dreams come true is what this tournament is all about -- for the competitors as well as our guests, and especially for the children who will ultimately benefit from the efforts of Children's Miracle Network," said tournament chairman and Disney head golf professional Kevin Weickel. "Our tournament provides first-class sports entertainment and we look forward to hosting the TOUR's greatest players, who have been coming here to experience the magic with their families for more than 30 years."
The Children's Miracle Network Classic presented by Wal-Mart is the seventh and final tournament of the newly created PGA TOUR Fall Series. As the concluding segment to the PGA TOUR season, the Fall Series will determine:
The top 125 players on the final Official Money List who become fully eligible for the following season's FedExCup, a high-profile points competition that concludes in August and September with the PGA TOUR Playoffs
The final participants in the season-opening Mercedes-Benz Championship, which is limited to tournament winners from the previous season
Potential to finish in the top 30 on the Official Money List, which would earn a spot in the following year's Masters and U.S. Open
Invitations to the TOUR's invitational events that in part are based on prior year's money list
Opportunity to earn Official World Golf Ranking points and increased opportunity to play in the three World Golf Championships events, which utilize the World Ranking as a gauge
More information about the Children's Miracle Network Classic presented by Wal-Mart is available at www.childrensmiraclenetworkclassic.com.
About Children's Miracle Network
Children's Miracle Network is a non-profit organization dedicated to saving and improving the lives of children by raising funds for children's hospitals across North America. Although Children's Miracle Network is an international organization, all funds raised stay in the local community where they are raised to help children at their local Children's Miracle Network hospital. All overhead costs associated with the operation and production of Children's Miracle Network are underwritten by partner corporations and organizations, enabling all local contributions to go to the local hospital in each community. Each year the 170 Children's Miracle Network hospitals provide the finest medical care, life-saving research and preventative education to help millions of kids overcome diseases and injuries of every kind. To learn more go to www.childrensmiraclenetwork.org.