2015 Champions Tour Awards
Three PGA TOUR Champions Events, Fuzzy Zoeller
Honored with 2015 Awards at Annual Tournament Meetings
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Three tournaments, as well as two-time major championship winner Fuzzy Zoeller, were honored with 2015 awards by the Champions Tour at the PGA TOUR’s Tournament Meetings on Thursday, December 3 in Miami, Fla.
At the annual gathering, four specific categories were recognized – the President’s Award, the Players Award, the Most Improved Event Award and the Bruno Award.
Miller Brady, the Senior Vice President & Chief of Operations for PGA TOUR Champions, was onsite at host Trump Doral Resort to hand out the awards in front of PGA TOUR staff and representatives from a number of Tour events.
The Shaw Charity Classic, which became the first international event to win the President’s Award in 2014, again earned the prestigious award, which captures the criteria of all the Champions Tour awards, as well as the intangibles that make it stand out amidst a plethora of successful tournaments.
With charity at the forefront of all PGA TOUR Champions events, the Shaw Charity Classic set a new Tour mark in 2015 by shattering its own fundraising record for a third straight year with a $3.9 million donation that will be shared amongst 99 youth-based charities in Alberta.
The event, contested annually at Canyon Meadows Golf & Country Club in Calgary, attracted its best field to date in 2015, which in turn delivered outstanding crowds and community support for title sponsor Shaw Communications.
“The Champions Tour is privileged to feature events which annually impact both the golf landscape and the community, and this is most apparent at the Shaw Charity Classic, which has consistently produced one of the Tour’s premier tournaments while delivering on the fronts of both fan experience and charitable efforts,” said Brady. “Sean Van Kesteren and his team are to be commended for their tireless efforts in earning back-to-back President’s Awards.”
In 2015, Jeff Maggert claimed his third of four PGA TOUR Champions titles at the Shaw Charity Classic with a four-shot victory over World Golf Hall of Fame member Colin Montgomerie.
“It’s an honor. To be honest, I’m quite surprised as I didn’t think we’d have a chance to win this award two times in a row,” said Executive Director Sean Van Kesteren. “We’re very happy for our ownership group, for Shaw, but most importantly, for all of the charities we support. Charity is why we’re doing this. We have a great team up in Calgary, and the community has really embraced the event. We have a good thing going, so hopefully we’ll be around for a long, long time.”
The Players Award went to the Insperity Invitational. The annual award represents recognition for a tournament that goes above and beyond in the experience they provide to PGA TOUR Champions players.
Year in and year out, the tournament – contested each year in The Woodlands, Texas – provides a level of hospitality that is unsurpassed on PGA TOUR Champions.
In 2015, the Insperity Invitational worked with host The Woodlands Country Club to renovate and update the player dining area, in turn increasing the clubhouse experience for players and their families. The Player Dinner, which is held each year on Thursday of tournament week, is one of the most memorable nights of the PGA TOUR Champions season.
A new award at this year’s Tournament Meetings was the Most Improved Event Award, which gives special recognition to a tournament that puts a focus on improvement and innovation, while delivering one of their best tournament weeks to date through sales, operations and charitable functions. The 2015 recipient of the Most Improved Event Award went to the Allianz Championship, which saw a 40 percent increase in on-site revenue at longtime host The Old Course at Broken Sound in Boca Raton, Fla.
From an operations standpoint, the tournament improved on-site presentation with new signage and a blue color scheme to better reflect the brand standards and recognition of title sponsor Allianz.
The 2015 event contributed a record $605,000 to charity, up 40 percent from the prior year.
The Allianz Championship is annually one of the most exciting events on the Champions Tour, with the tournament champion winning by two shots or less in all nine years of the tournament’s existence. This past year, Paul Goydos birdied the par-5 18th in the final round to claim a one-shot win over Gene Sauers.
The PGA TOUR Champions Advisory Council presents the Bruno Award annually to an individual judged to have made special and outstanding contributions to the Champions Tour. The award is named in honor of Brian ‘Bruno’ Henning, the former Vice President of the Champions Tour and Southern Africa Golf Hall of Fame member. This year, Fuzzy Zoeller was honored with the prestigious award for his unwavering support of the Tour both on and off the course.
The two-time PGA TOUR Champions winner is a familiar face at pro-ams and tournament functions, often socializing with both sponsors and fans to create a unique experience for all who choose to associate with the legends of the game.
"I'm honored to receive the 2015 Bruno Award. The Champions Tour is fortunate to have the wonderful support of fans and sponsors, and we as players enjoy our time spent through outlets such as pro-ams or dinners during tournament week to help make the experience special for each of them,” said Zoeller. “A number of great players have been given this prestigious award in the past, but more importantly, they have all been great people. I am humbled to now join that group."
The Tour honored two longtime volunteers with the annual Volunteer of the Year Award.
Pam Cummins of Fort Myers, Fla. and Andy Palon of Naples, Fla., who have been volunteer fixtures at the ACE Group Classic for over 25 years before assisting at the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf at Big Cedar Lodge as well in recent years, earned their respective awards through years of dedication and hard work helping to coordinate volunteer efforts for two of the Tour’s premier events.
The 2016 PGA TOUR Champions season, which will feature the inaugural Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs, will kick off at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai, set to be contested at Hualalai Golf Club in Ka'upulehu-Kona, Hawaii on January 21-23.