Las Vegas, Nevada (October 19, 2014)–The organizers of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open call their PGA TOUR event–being playing for the 33rd-straight year–much more than a golf tournament. And when you look at everything that takes place surrounding the swings of the best golfers in the world, they are absolutely correct. From sharing the message of the Shriners Hospitals for Children internationally to the DJ spinning at Hyde on the Hil to the kids swimming in the Zappos.com Fan Experience swimming pools, this Vegas event pretty much has something for everyone. And, yes, some great golf was played and as of this writing, Ben Martin from South Carolina had the lead heading into the final round. –By Brian Hurlburt.
Among the events that were held in conjunction with the tournament were the Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame induction ceremony, the Kick Off Your Heels Women's luncheon, the Goodie Two Shoes Rockin' Walk, and the Clark County School District Day. Fan experiences on the course included Hyde on the Hill, the Zappos.com Fan Experience, the No Par Bar hosted by Born and Raised, the Hyundai Social Media Lounge and the Champions Club hosted by Trew Financial and Benefits Group among others. Several skyboxes were also filled by sponsors and overlooked the 18th green. There were several swimming pools on site plus a miniature golf course and other fun for fans besides watching some of the best golfers in the world.
"I think this is the best tournament we have had in the six years I have been here when you look at several categories," says Adam Sperling, Tournament Director. "When you look at five categories, I think we have been successful in each of them. We have had strong community involvement with several organizations holding events using our PGA TOUR tournament as a backdrop and our strength of field is good. Our integration with the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open has been terrific and the course is great condition. We have also had the strongest sponsorship support we have had in the last six years. We thank everybody involved for their support. With that being said, we are always looking for ways to make next year even better and are already making plans for 2015. More good news is that many sponsors are already signed up for next year."
Want to play golf in Las Vegas on a TPC PGA TOUR golf course? Visit the official website of TPC Las Vegas, a former host course of events on the PGA TOUR and Champions PGA TOUR.
On the course, Martin was looking to become a first-time PGA TOUR champion. He fired a blistering 62 in the third round which matched his career best on the PGA TOUR. Martin stood at 17-under par entering the final round. Also in the hunt are Las Vegas residents Scott Piercy (-12), Alex Cejka (-11), and Bill Lunde (-11).
Piercy is back healthy after a tough year in 2014. He is still on a medical exemption as far as his status on the TOUR so a big week even without a win can secure big things for the 2015 season. He also loves playing at home and would like nothing more than to take home the trophy to his Vegas home.
"Obviously being at home in my own bed is a nice thing, especially when you're playing on TOUR," says Piercy. "The biggest thing is getting back into tournament golf for me. I'm healthy again. I feel good. I've been in the gym a lot, gotten strong, recovered, and now it's time to get back playing. Nothing really can duplicate tournament golf. As well as I've played the last three days and solid, I definitely left some out there, especially being my home course. I know where to hit this golf course at, and I got it on probably the holes that I shouldn't."
Even before the week started, it was clear to all that this event is very meaningful for a variety of ways. 2014 FedEx Cup Champion Billy Horschel committed to play in the tournament for several reasons. Unfortunately he missed the cut but his support of the Vegas event was a benefit for organizers and supporters.
"I love this event," said Horschel before the tournament. "Obviously I've only played in it once, but what Shriners does with all the children and with me having my little girl, you know, I couldn't imagine what all these families have to go through.The (Shriners) do a heck of a job putting it on. I like the golf course a lot. Las Vegas isn't a bad place to start the year out. I knew ahead of time before I won the FedExCup that I wanted to play Shriners before I played Malaysia and China. I wanted to at least get one event in, so it was a perfect place for me to start the year, and like I said, I think Shriners does a great job, and what they do across the United States with all of their hospitals and taking care of these kids, I'm happy to be a part of it."
About the Shriners Hospitals for Children: Shriners Hospitals for Children® is changing lives every day through innovative pediatric specialty care, world-class research and outstanding medical education. The 23 facilities in the United States, Canada and Mexico provide advanced care for children with orthopaedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate. Shriners Hospitals for Children is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and relies on the generosity of donors. All donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent permitted by law.