Long Drive Shootout & Junior clinic Part of Tournament Week Activities
Nationwide Tour Players and Host Pro swing for Bragging Rights
ATHENS, Ga., April 9, 2007 – Tiger Woods may be the number one ranked player in the world with millions per year in earnings, but he would be only tied for 96th on the Nationwide Tour in terms of driving distance. Local sports fans will have the opportunity to see some of this power displayed firsthand as some of the Nationwide Tour’s biggest hitters tee it up in a long drive competition prior to the upcoming Athens Regional Foundation Classic (ARFC). In addition, local youth will have the opportunity to learn how to hit the long ball from several of the pros following the competition in the annual ARFC junior clinic.
Taking place on Tuesday, April 17th beginning at 4:00 p.m. at Jennings Mill Country Club (JMCC), five Nationwide Tour Players and JMCC host professional Larry James will battle it out for bragging rights. Southern Broadcasting’s 960 The Ref personalities Jeff Dantzler and Mike Tingle will be joined by ESPN personality and ARFC participant Charlie Rymer to provide drive-by-drive commentary through live remote coverage of the contest.
Currently, the driving distance leader on the Nationwide Tour, Tad Ridings, averages more than 321 yards off the tee. The average of the top-ten driving distance leaders on the Nationwide Tour is almost 10-yards longer than their PGA TOUR counterparts.
“I think fans will be blown away with the strength and ability of these players,” said ARFC tournament director Cutts Benedict.
The junior clinic will begin directly after the conclusion of the long drive contest. The junior clinic is a chance for local youth to hear directly from the pros about topics related to golf and life on the tour. Time and space permitting, junior clinic participants will even have an opportunity to hit a few balls and receive individual instruction from the pros.
“What better way to pick up the basics of the game than from some of the world’s most talented players,” explained Benedict. “Youth of all ages and skill levels will be able to walk away with something they’ve learned from these guys – both about the fundamentals of the game and the commitment it takes to succeed at golf.”
The long drive contest and the junior clinic are free of charge. The junior clinic is open to all boys and girls 15 years old and younger. Participants are encouraged to bring clubs if they have them. Parents are encouraged to attend with their children. Each child in attendance will receive two complimentary tournament daily passes.
Athens Regional Foundation
All proceeds from the Classic will benefit the Athens Regional Foundation. The Foundation’s goals of community service and education are accomplished by providing the financial means to establish projects and programs to reach out and serve the long-term healthcare needs of area citizens. Recent projects of the Foundation include the Loran Smith Center for Cancer Support, which provides free resources to anyone affected by cancer; The Guest House, a home away from home for families of critically ill patients; a Mobile Mammography Unit, which provides screening mammograms to women who do not easily have access to mammograms; and the Breast Health Center, which includes one of the only all digital mammography centers in the country.
The Foundation’s current project is a campaign to expand cancer care services. A highlight of the campaign is the Griffin-DuBose Healing Lodge, named in memory of John E. “Buck” Griffin and Bolling DuBose, M.D., two beloved community members who served the hospital for many years; increased programming with an emphasis on survivorship and patient care services; and growth of the existing endowment to ensure long-term existence of these services.
The Nationwide Tour
The Nationwide Tour is part of the PGA TOUR family and was founded in 1990. Nationwide has served as the umbrella sponsor of the Tour starting with the 2003 season. The Top 20 players on the Nationwide Tour graduate to the PGA TOUR annually, and to date, former players have won 193 PGA TOUR titles, including 10 major championships. Among those who have honed their game on the Tour are Stewart Cink, John Daly, Chris DiMarco, David Duval, Ernie Els, Jim Furyk, Tom Lehman and David Toms. The PGA TOUR is headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Its website is www.PGATOUR.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 #99 on the Fortune 100 list. The company provides a full range of insurance and financial services, including auto, homeowners, life, health, commercial insurance, administrative services, annuities, mutual funds, pensions and long-term savings plans.
Nationwide and the Nationwide Framework are federally registered service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. On Your Side is a service mark of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company.
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