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Hospitality & Tourism

McGladrey Classic kicks off next week: Jonathan Byrd, Padraig Harrington, Chris DiMarco, Johnson Wagner to play

Category: Hospitality & Tourism

Brunswick Business Journal Staff Report

October 15, 2014 – Now in its fifth year, the successful McGladrey Classic golf tournament is not only a financial boon to the local region, but a growing event in the field of golf.  It is an official PGA TOUR event, hosted by the Davis Love Foundation, and set for next week at the Sea Island Golf Club from October 20 - 26.

According to a recent study independent study by Georgia Southern University, the McGladrey Classis has a $10.6 million economic impact to the greater Brunswick area, of which 65% is direct spend. 

Crowds max out at 7,500 attendees a day, according to Melanie Trotter, Marketing Director for the event, organized and welcomed by the 1,200 volunteers it takes to make the golf tournament go smoothly.  There will be 132 golfers this year, she added.

Over the past four years, since its inception, $2 million has been contributed to charity organizations, another benefit of the event. 

According to Trotter, the McGladrey Classic has attracted 15 premiere national and regional sponsors which have been with the event for all five years, and 13 local sponsors, also onboard for the success five year period.    

And, it’s the caliber of golfers that is part of the attraction for the gallery crowds.

The Classic recently announced that professional golfers Jonathan Byrd, Padraig Harrington, Chris DiMarco and Johnson Wagner have been awarded sponsor exemptions to play in the event.

“We are pleased to add Jonathan, Padraig, Chris and Johnson to the player field on sponsor exemptions,” said Scott Reid, Tournament Director.

Since turning pro in 2000, Byrd, a local favorite, has recorded five wins on the PGA TOUR.  His wins are the Hyundai Tournament of Champions (2011), Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open (2010), John Deere Classic (2007), B.C. Open (2004) and Buick Challenge (2002).

A native of Ireland, Harrington turned pro in 1995.  He is a 3-time Major champion with wins at The Open Championship (2007 and 2008) and PGA Championship (2008).  He also won The Honda Classic and Barclays Classic in 2005.

DiMarco turned pro in 1990 and is a member of Team McGladrey.  He has three wins on the PGA TOUR.  His wins are the Phoenix Open (2002), Buick Challenge (2001) and SEI Pennsylvania Classic (2000).  DiMarco has played in The McGladrey Classic each year since its inaugural event in 2010.

Wagner turned pro in 2002 and has captured three PGA TOUR victories.  He won the Sony Open in Hawaii (2012), Mayakoba Golf Classic at Riviera Maya-Cancun (2011) and Shell Houston Open (2008).

“There are so many great players.  The selection of sponsor exemptions are always a difficult decision,” said Reid.  “But we felt that Jonathan, Padraig, Chris and Johnson are excellent candidates and wanted to give them the opportunity to play at this year’s McGladrey Classic.”

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