Twenty-five cheers for the Air Capital Classic, which will extend the event’s impressive run to the quarter-century mark Thursday through Sunday at Crestview Country Club (North).
Wichita is the first of the four cities celebrating 25th anniversaries this summer as tournament sites for the entire history of the premier developmental tour of professional golf.
Called the Web.com Tour now and the Ben Hogan Tour back in 1990, when the tournament was held in Wichita at Reflection Ridge Golf Club, the tour offers Wichitans a chance to see some outstanding golf played by both aspiring and veteran pros. Among its past champions: Tom Lehman, David Duval, David Toms and Jason Dufner.
It also presents the opportunity for Wichita to play the gracious host to the competitors and fans for an event that stands out as a quality-of-life perk, and returning players seem to appreciate the care and pride the city puts into it.
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“They love the tournament, support the tournament. That’s one of the things that really sticks out in my mind – they love having us,” Jason Gore told PGATour.com about Wichita’s Air Capital Classic.
The event also delivers significant economic, tourism and philanthropic benefits to the community – including an estimated $4.5 million annual economic impact and more than $1 million in charitable contributions since 2006.
It will be all the sweeter when players tee off Thursday because there was some uncertainty last summer about the tournament’s future after a 10-year corporate sponsorship ended. By October, though, the community-based fundraising strategy aggressively pursued by 15-year tournament director Roy Turner had ensured the Air Capital Classic would be back in 2014 and continue through at least 2016.
Thanks are due the more than 20 actively engaged contributors to the new Ambassador program, which has given the Air Capital Classic a broader and more diverse base of sustaining support, and to Aetna for committing to a three-year presenting sponsorship.
Now “quiet, please,” and let this Wichita tradition continue.
For the editorial board, Rhonda Holman