The Memorial Tournament, Nationwide and the PGA Tour announced Tuesday a six-year relationship that begins in 2016 with the 41st playing of the Tournament, May 30-June 5. The new agreement extends the partnership between the three organizations through 2021 and includes a significant purse increase, in addition to further Tournament enhancements.
The Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide is one of the elite events in professional golf. Founded and hosted annually by Columbus native Jack Nicklaus and the Nicklaus family and played at storied Muirfield Village Golf Club, the Memorial regularly attracts an outstanding global field, recognizes those who have distinguished themselves and contributed significantly to the sport, and at the same time ensures that many deserving charities are recognized and supported to help those in need.
“When we created the Memorial Tournament, in many ways it was a gift to the people of Central Ohio and to the community that helped shape me as a player, but, more important, as a person,” Jack Nicklaus said. “We wanted to create a significant event for the passionate fans; use it as a way to honor the greats of the game; and impact the local community in a meaningful way through charity. It was also about leaving a legacy. Simply put, as we walk through life, the footprint we leave behind is what determines your legacy.
“For 40 years, I have been enormously proud and humbled by the success of the Memorial Tournament. And because of the support of friends and partners like Nationwide and the PGA TOUR, the footprint the Memorial will leave behind for generations to come should remain a source of pride and accomplishment for everyone in Central Ohio.”
Nationwide began its presenting sponsorship of the Memorial Tournament in 2011 after two decades maintaining a long-standing high profile relationship with the PGA TOUR as one of the games most passionate supporters. That same dedication and a shared vision with the Memorial has produced a thriving union leading to increased success for the Tournament, including a bolstered impact to charity, namely Nationwide Children’s Hospital through an alliance with the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation established in 2010.
“We’re excited to continue our partnership with the Memorial for the next six years,” said Steve Rasmussen, Nationwide’s chief executive officer. “Sponsoring a nationally renowned golf tournament like the Memorial allows Nationwide to connect with golf fans here in Columbus and across the country. More importantly, our affiliation with this tournament shines a national spotlight on the life-changing work being done at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and helps raise much needed funds to ensure they can continue to positively impact the lives of countless children and their families.”
Provisions of the new Tournament agreement further reflect Nicklaus’ historic and storied stature in golf and the commitment of Nationwide’s philanthropic efforts. With an increased purse of $8.5 million, with $1,615,000 to the winner (from $6.2 million and $1,116,000 respectively), the Tournament becomes one of the highest regular season prize money events on the PGA TOUR. Moreover, the winner of the Memorial Tournament receives a three-year PGA TOUR exemption.
“The Memorial Tournament has long been one of the premier events on the PGA TOUR schedule, and it is appropriate to honor all that Jack Nicklaus has done for the game, on and off the golf course, by making these changes to elevate the tournament’s status even more,” said PGA TOUR Deputy Commissioner Jay Monahan. “Our gratitude goes out to Nationwide, whose commitment ensures an even brighter future for this great event.”
Thanks to the support of Nationwide and the PGA TOUR, the Memorial Tournament announced in November of this year donations of $2 million for charitable organizations in central Ohio, including a record-setting $1,607,118 for Nationwide Children’s Hospital through the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation alliance. Since its first playing in 1976, the Memorial has eclipsed $26 million in donations to central Ohio charities, with more than $14 million going to Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
“I literally grew up with the Memorial Tournament,” said Jack Nicklaus II, Chairman of the Memorial Tournament and Muirfield Village Golf Club, “and it has been amazing to see it evolve into the globally important event it has become. But through this growth, the Memorial has never lost its commitment to the local community and to charity. I have been blessed in my decade as Chairman to see the Memorial reach new heights, most of that through the support of a like-minded partner in Nationwide. Now, buoyed by the continued commitment of Nationwide and the PGA TOUR, we have the ability to secure an even brighter future for the Memorial Tournament, as well as the lives of the children and families we are able to impact.”
The 2016 Memorial Tournament is scheduled for May 30 – June 5 at Muirfield Village Golf Club. The public may call the Tournament Ticket Office 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays at 877-MT BADGE to purchase badges. Kids 16 and under can attend for free with a ticketed adult and kids 18 and under are admitted free on Wednesday, June 1, 2016 for Junior Golf Day. Daily practice round tickets for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are also available. The introductory cost is $35 through March 4, and they are valid for all three practice-round days.