I’d be hard pressed to remember any other LPGA events outside of the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic presented by Kroger, and anyone else who wants to and the four majors.
I am aware that The Farr (shortened for brevity’s sake, otherwise I could just repeat the full tournament name five more times and fill my word quota for the week) is one of two tournaments sandwiched between two majors, which I suppose positions it well.
But when I think of the Jamie Farr, two customs come to mind. One is the stretch of Monroe Street in Sylvania being renamed in honor of whoever wins the previous year. For just a little bit longer, it will be “Paula Creamer Drive,” which greatly inconveniences the residents of that street, having to fill out yearly change of address forms.
The other tradition is the biennial bashing of the Jamie Farr Web site.
Two years ago, I pulled up the site www.jamiefarrowenscorning.com in search of the participant list. My conclusion was that I couldn’t find it, but my sleuthing lacked patience, and the list was just very poorly hidden. In 2009, the list was tucked away in the bottom right corner, standing out as the only nearby pink text.
All right, finally, a complete list of every single golfer who will be … what the heck? That’s a short list. The way tournament officials organized the player list is in groups of 10 women with a “more” button showing another set of 10. They’re alphabetized by first name, but at least there’s a search button, so I can look for my favorite player. It’s a good thing they didn’t just list all the players on a single page because then they wouldn’t get to show off all the new Web site code they learned.
In all fairness, it’s a clean layout that was a vast improvement over the old Web site, which I just had to revisit using the Internet Archive Wayback Machine (http://www.
archive.org). Wow, whoever thought animated .gifs were a good design feature should probably be slapped around a little. But it looks like they just severely reprimanded him and/or sent him to design school. This year, they’ve concealed the tackiness with what appears to be a scrolling news bar in the top left corner, but it’s just an animated graphic that was well done.
The tournament organizers also have a link to a Facebook group, which means they’re hip, but they don’t have a Twitter, which means they’re not that cool.
But they are cool enough to stick around. As this is the 25th anniversary of the tournament, and not all stops on the tour were that lucky. The other Corning Classic no relation to OC in Corning, N.Y., had its 31st annual tournament back in May, but there will be no 32nd, as it was one of four LPGA tournaments sliced off the tour. So, organizers of the Jamie Farr, I mean this in the nicest way possible when I say you should hope that I get to keep poking fun at your Web site for years to come.
Archive for June, 2009
I’d be hard pressed to remember any other LPGA events outside of the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic presented by Kroger, and anyone else who wants to and the four majors.
Todd Mitchell and Jim Jackson will host their annual basketball camp July 27 through July 30 at Owens Community College, according to a press release.
The four-day youth basketball camp runs from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Camp instructors for the four-day event will include college and
professional basketball standouts Mitchell and Jackson, as well as area
high school coaches and current and former collegiate basketball
players, the release stated.
Boys and girls entering grades 5-12 will receive instruction on
various basketball skills, including ball handling, passing,
shooting, defense and rebounding.
The camp registration fee is $75 per participant and space is limited.
Lunch is provided daily and each attendee will receive a basketball camp
jersey. For more information, call (419) 720-5252.
Interning at the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic is a huge learning process, according to Sandy White, director of operations.
“They do it all, really — from start to finish,” she said. “It shows them how a sporting event comes together.”
The tournament only employs five full- or part-time employees, so interns take on a lot of responsibility during the event.
This year, Blake Williams, Brent Papenfuss and Jessica Jackel, along with practicum student Scott Kravitz, are responsible for registering players, running reports, organizing Pro-Ams and working with more than 1,200 volunteers.
“The biggest thing I’ve learned is that you’re so involved,” Papenfuss said. “Everything you do affects the tournament. You have to be so organized and on point. There’s a lot of people counting on you.”
Each intern runs a Pro-Am — from beginning to end, along with their other overall responsibilities. Jackel was even put in charge of running The Hylant Group Gala Dinner at the SeaGate Convention Centre on June 30.
“I’ve really grown as a businessperson,” Jackel said. “It’s been really, really cool. We interact with hundreds of people, and I basically fly free. I can do things on my own.”
White, who has been with the Jamie Farr since 2001, said this group of students has been the best she has had in terms of working together.
“We’ve had some great interns in the past, but none of the groups have worked together as well as this group,” she said.
All four of the students are from BGSU. They began after school ended in May and will be there until two weeks after the tournament.
“When we hire them, we tell them we’ll have fun, but we work hard,” White said. “We’re not doing brain surgery, but there’s a lot of work to do.”
Kravitz doesn’t have a Pro-Am to run as he is just a practicum student, but he helps with all the Pro-Ams and basically has his hands in everything. He said the key is to always ask questions and always learn.
“You’ve got to be a good people person and be ready to adapt to anything,” Kravitz said. “Also, like you saw Beth Page [during the U.S. Open] with the weather, you have to be able to change things at a moment’s notice.”
Students also take what they learn into the classroom.
“I’m really looking forward to being in class next year and being able to say, ‘Hey, I’ve done this before,’” Jackel said.
Williams has, perhaps, the most responsibility. He has been working with White since January and has joined with volunteer coordinator Heather Warga to learn about the volunteer side of operations.
“He’s really helped us out immensely,” White said.
In fact, Williams has a strong interest in the golf industry and is exploring his options, as he just recently graduated from BGSU and will be looking for a job. His sales calls have improved the most.
“My first few calls were absolutely horrible, but I’ve gotten a lot better at it,” he said.
The interns realize just how valuable they are as the tournament approaches.
“With all the phone calls, Pro-Ams and setups, it would be tough to do with just the staff,” Williams said. “Leading up to it is nuts. It just speeds up and becomes full force.”
To the Editor:
As you may be aware, NBC began airing a summer replacement series called The Philanthropist on Wednesday, June 24.
The Philanthropist is a thrill-seeking, anything-is-possible story of redemption through spontaneous acts of extreme giving by a powerful billionaire playboy. Unlike some of the television hospital, crime-solving and legal dramas, which strive for realistic depictions of those fields, this show relies primarily on hyperbole for its entertainment value.
Each weekly episode is expected to highlight the philanthropist’s giving in a different country. NBC says the series “follows the heroic adventures of Teddy Rist, billionaire playboy-turned-vigilante philanthropist, taking him across the globe from Haiti to Myanmar, Kashmir to Paris, Kosovo to San Diego.”
The show’s storyline bears little resemblance to the realities of carefully considered, long-term strategic investments that socially responsible individuals and institutions make – domestically and globally. While many decisions of giving begin with the heart, smart giving for the community involves one’s head. Such decisions though “heroic” are not the type made that lead to weekly global action hero adventures.
While our foundation’s stories may not be quite as exhilarating as those in the TV show, our work and that of foundations’ across the globe is critical, poignant, effective and life-changing. Nationally, in 2008, foundations provided $45.6 billion in grants to aid families, deliver human services, assist low-income populations and support economic development. That funding represents an increase of $1.2 billion over 2007 despite the economic downturn.
In 2008 alone, your Toledo Community Foundation contributed more than $8.9 million to help alleviate critical social needs in our region and beyond.
Most recently, the Safety Net Fund of the Toledo Community Foundation – created in January to be used exclusively for grants for food, clothing and shelter assistance to nonprofit organizations that provide these basic services in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan – disbursed more than $200,000 to nonprofit organizations to support basic needs services in our community.
You can learn more about your local community foundation at www.toledocf.org, or contact us at (419) 241-5049 with your questions.
Keith Burwell, President
Toledo Community Foundation
As sports fans, we sit back and watch, not always with complete affection, as the world shrinks with rapid advancements in technology, transportation and communication.
The Russians and Swedes have invaded the NHL, major league baseball has a distinct Latino flavor, American-born Indy-car drivers comprised just one-third of the 33-car Indianapolis 500 field in May.
The NFL and NBA are somewhat shielded from foreign invasion because no other country can match our feeder system, our developmental leagues, more commonly referred to as colleges and universities.
It’s all OK. It’s another component of global warming.
And then it lands in our own backyard and it’s not OK. It takes on a repulsive persona. We become discriminatory. Our international spirit is somewhat compromised.
If you haven’t already guessed, and I’m absolutely sure you haven’t, we’re talking about the LPGA and more specifically, the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic presented by Kroger at Highland Meadows.
It’s the 25th year of the annual Toledo tour stop and with 48 of the top 50 players, including all of the top 10, we’ve had no finer field.
But there’s this problem. In NCAA post-season tournament parlance, we’re considered a mid-major. With bigger U.S-cities and more international venues in the mix to accommodate the rapid influx of foreign-born players, LPGA locations, such as Toledo and Rochester, N.Y., are hitting out of tough rough. Rochester hosted its annual LPGA event recently for the 33rd consecutive year. The hard truth is that both might be getting priced out of the market.
Rochester tried hard, queried everyone of LPGA prominence, including commissioner Carolyn Bivens, but found no one willing to guarantee the return of its tournament. And Rochester offered a $2 million purse. With the extremely hard work and passion of tournament director Judd Silverman, Toledo has scraped up a purse of $1.4 million.
It’s no secret that Bivens, who became the first woman to lead the LPGA in 2005, had visions of grandeur, which can sometimes be interpreted as a depiction of greed. We’ve seen it in every sport. It’s all-inclusive.
But now it’s in our own backyard and it’s not OK.
That’s because it’s the biggest sporting event we have, not just in the summer but year-round. It’s huge for our community and our economy. We supply more than 1,200 tournament volunteers who serve with pride. But most of all, again through the dedication of Silverman and his associates, our tournament has donated more than $6.2 million to charities, most of them local.
But with visions of grandeur dancing through her head, Bivens has raised the sanctioning fee considerably. Silverman won’t divulge how much, but does admit it jumped a bunch last year and then held fast this year. It’s rumored that the fee might more than double in 2010. And while we’re dealing with unverified reports, it’s also reported that Silverman will have to increase his purse substantially.
To all those idle speculations, Silverman says they’re not necessarily true. Why? Because he’s in contract negotiations with the LPGA and there’s this confidentiality thing.
Silverman will admit, “Any time your contract is up anything could happen next year. We’re either going to negotiate a new agreement or we’re not. I’m giving my personal opinion and I’m hoping we have a 99 percent chance of getting it done.
“Everyone has to do what they can to negotiate a livable business model that makes everyone happy,” he said. “We’re in business to make money for charities and if we can’t raise enough money for charity to keep our sponsors happy, then we’re not going to be around very long. We’ve always been able to find a win-win scenario with the LPGA and we’re hoping that we can continue to do that.”
But Bivens has to be very careful, too, not only because of the anemic economy. Why does Toledo have its best field ever that includes 48 of the top 50 players, including 10 of the top 10?
Because there are five fewer LPGA events this year, players, all of a sudden, have to play, everywhere. They can’t be as selective with fewer sources of income.
Silverman admits that while the tournament will finish in the black there might not be as much money given to charities, such as last year’s $350,000.
Will the finest women golfers in the world be back next year? That will be the prominent question of this tournament. The time-worn, canned responses will vary from, “Contract negotiations have been very productive,” to, “I feel good about the tournament returning to Toledo.”
But in essence, the season-long LPGA tournament begins in Thailand and ends in South Korea — South Koreans are the most influential golfers in the LPGA tournament standings.
How many times have you seen such top-name LPGA players as In-Kyung Kim or Ji Yai Shin on Letterman or sitting next to Oprah?
You get the picture. Going global is OK to a point, but let’s not forget our roots. Toledo has consistently been an LPGA tournament bastion during good times and bad for the past quarter century. We deserve to remain so, not because of entitlement, but because of loyalty, sacrifice, hard work and passion.
I want to begin by asking all of you to take a deep breath.
Go ahead, I’ll wait.
LPGA golfer Stacy Lewis has been trying to catch her breath for months now.
The rookie on tour is enduring the mental rigors of playing professional golf for a living.
“I’ve played more golf than I ever have before,” Lewis told Toledo Free Press. “It’s been a struggle getting use to playing week to week and getting use to the travel.”
Through her first 10 events as a pro, Lewis missed the cut four times. The mental strain continues to outweigh the natural ability of the 2007 NCAA National Champion.
“My play hasn’t been anywhere close to where I should be,” Lewis said. “I was kind of carrying what I was doing from week to week into the next tournament.”
Then a few weeks ago, Lewis was back where she feels she belongs. Lewis found her name atop the leader board followed by red numbers at the McDonald’s LPGA Championship.
The former University of Arkansas Razorback finished tied for ninth place at the end of the final round. She increased her career earnings to more than $85,000 after taking home a check worth more than $39,000.
“Growing up I never thought I’d be able to make a living playing golf,” Lewis said.
She isn’t lying.
Born in Toledo, Lewis spent her first two years in the Glass City before her family moved to South Carolina. Whereas many fans of the sport can picture Tiger Woods swinging a golf club at the tender of age of 3, Lewis didn’t start golfing until she was 8 years old. Her first tournament came four years later.
“Golf really wasn’t big in my life when I was younger,” she said. “It was just kind of something I liked to do.”
Adding degrees of difficulty to an already physically challenging sport, Lewis was diagnosed with scoliosis, a curvature of the spine, and had a metal rod inserted into her back.
But she didn’t use it as an excuse and continued to excel on the golf course throughout her teenage years.
Her hobby turned into college tuition. She earned a golf scholarship and was the No. 1 golfer for the University of Arkansas, earning All-American honors all four years.
Now, she returns to Toledo for the first time as a LPGA tour professional. In the past, sponsor exemptions have allowed Lewis to partake in the area’s crown jewel sporting event of the summer.
If you’ve been out to Highland Meadows over the past few years, following Stacy from hole to hole is the “Lew Crew.” The group wears matching T-shirts and is made up of family members who still live in the Toledo area. Lewis says their emotional support gives her an edge.
“It’s almost like a hometown crowd for me,” said Lewis, who lives in Texas. “I think it’s a special place for me.”
Let’s just hope the hometown support doesn’t take her breath away.
Ryan Fowler is the weekend sports anchor at NBC 24 and can be reached at email@example.com.
Families considering preneed agreements for burial services may have second thoughts after learning of a local funeral director who mishandled funds, leaving financial victims in the wake of his death.
Jeffrey Fretti, who owned J. Jeffrey Fretti Funeral Home in Toledo, died in April, but the extent of his business’s financial woes was not discovered until weeks later.
The news “panicked” other funeral home officials, according to Megan Coyle-Stamos, director and prearrangement specialist at Coyle Funeral Home, who said she became concerned consumers would shy away from investing in preneed agreements. Most funeral homes place funds into guaranteed, irrevocable trusts to ensure the money is safe.
“It’s their money, and the funeral home does not have any access to it until the death has actually occurred,” Coyle-Stamos said. “So it is a very safe and very comforting thought to know that things are paid for, that they are in order.”
Trust beneficiaries and insurance policyholders lock in the cost of the funeral services even if they are not needed for years. Client funds through J. Fretti Funeral Home, however, were self-managed, which Coyle-Stamos said sets up a situation that “can easily go awry.”
Another advantage to trusts and insurance policies is that their values are not considered personal assets if a client needs to rely on Medicaid later in life.
“The growth of the policy will cover any inflationary rise, and that’s the funeral home honoring and taking that risk to ensure that the families are taken care of at the time the death occurs,” she added. “[But] they should always ask for details about how a funeral home or even a cemetery would protect their money and they should ask for an accounting of where that money is and how those funds will be kept.”
John Wanick, a lawyer serving as executor for the Fretti estate, said clients can avoid risking their funds by requesting documentation from the bank holding the trust or the insurance company writing the policy. Only upon the death of the individual can a funeral director access the funds unless, in some cases, the client funding the trust or policy consents to a dispersing of the money.
“As far as the Fretti matter was concerned, the majority of the moneys that were given to Mr. Fretti were to go into a trust with a local bank,” Wanick said. “It was set aside specifically for preneed funding. The insurance policies were not what he would normally do.
“How do people avoid having this occur? Make sure that if they are giving money to a funeral home, they obviously get a receipt back from the entity where it is supposed to have been deposited.”
Recent legislation passed by the Ohio State Legislature takes full effect in early July, which Wanick said “tightens up” preneed funeral contracts to protect clients who invest in preneed services.
While the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic celebrates the 25th anniversary of the LPGA tournament this year, the future of the event remains uncertain.
The Jamie Farr Classic is in the last year of its contract with the LPGA and corporate sponsors, according to Judd Silverman, tournament director and founder.
“We feel very good about where we are in this tough economic climate,” he said. “It’s been a challenge, but we’re grateful to our sponsors who have remained loyal to it.”
Owens Corning is the title sponsor, and Kroger, the presenting sponsor of the Jamie Farr to be hosted June 29 through July 5 at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania. Owens Corning is also a sponsor of Paula Creamer who won the event in 2008 and is returning to defend her title.
“We’ve been delighted with our experience in the Jamie Farr Classic over the years,” said Scott Deitz, vice president of corporate media and investor relations at Owens Corning. “Our absolute focus is on having a successful tournament in 2009 and we’ll take a look at 2010 after this year’s event.”
Kroger has a yearly contract for the tournament and will meet with LPGA officials during the tournament this year to discuss a contract for 2010, according to Kroger spokeswoman Amy McCormick.
“We certainly hope they renegotiate another contract,” said Craig Stough, mayor of the host city for the past 14 years. “It’s a wonderful event to have in our community and it brings thousands of fans to Sylvania.”
The LPGA event draws about 75,000 spectators. It involves 144 LPGA players, their caddies and families, as well as more than 50 employees of ESPN and hundreds of other media members covering the competition.
The tournament is expected to bring about $2 million into the local economy based on past expenditures for food, lodging and other products at area hotels, restaurants and retail stores. Estimated figures for this year were not available.
The final three rounds of the tournament will be televised on ESPN-2 again this year. Silverman said the tournament will pay EPSN $360,000 for that coverage and receive national commercial units to sell to sponsors and local businesses.
“We have taken a net loss for that coverage the past few years, but continue doing it because it creates very positive national exposure for Toledo and Northwest Ohio,” Silverman said.
“We benefit from that national attention so the city of Sylvania will have three commercials that promote the community airing on ESPN-2 to help pay for the TV coverage,” Stough said.
“It’s a great boon for us and we’re gearing up for a very big week,” said Michael Fletcher, owner of Treo, a restaurant on Main Street in downtown Sylvania.
It will be the fourth Jamie Farr Classic for Fletcher who worked at Trattoria Sofo before opening his own restaurant at the same location.
“We’re excited it’s happening on Fourth of July weekend and looking forward to having Jamie Farr here for dinner one night,” Fletcher said.
Treo is one of several restaurants that will participate in the annual “Taking it to the Streets” event hosted in downtown Sylvania on July 2 from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. It is sponsored by the Sylvania Area Chamber of Commerce.
“We shut down Main Street and create a festival atmosphere,” Stough said.
The event is open to the public and includes food, beverages, a car show and musical entertainment.
The Wingate by Wyndam Hotel on Main Street is completely booked for the week of the tournament by a mix of fans, players and golf officials. The hotel has 74 rooms and usually has an 80 percent occupancy rate.
“We’re very grateful to the community, our sponsors and the hundreds of volunteers who have supported it,” Silverman said. “It’s truly a community event and people should be proud of supporting the tournament for 25 years.”
Vacation. It’s refreshing to get away and spend some time basking in the sun for a few days but, then, you have to return to work, to your problems and to your normal, daily routine.
Your tan, that sunny reminder of your time away, will fade and be replaced in a few short days by the same white pallor of your office’s fluorescent lights and you will feel as if your vacation never occurred. What happened to your refreshed feeling? What happened to your sunny glow?
Inspiration touches our lives in a similar fashion. Think back to the last time you felt truly inspired. Perhaps, you just heard a good sermon, read a good book or heard a powerful speech. What next? Probably nothing. You’ll feel great for a few minutes, a few hours or, if you’re lucky, a few days. One minute you are filled with energy, life and fresh ideas. Then, it fades and is gone without any action on your part.
Inspiration, like the sunlight that causes your skin to glow with a healthy radiance, needs to be recharged to survive. There is a way to capture the wind of inspiration in a jar; to save it for later and pull it out when you need it the most.
Inspiration starts as inspired thought. However, converting this positive energy into a powerful tool to improve your life and grow your business requires that you take it a step further. It requires action.
There are too many inspired people who are still broke, still in pain and still beating their heads against walls as they try to create change. These people are the ones who feel that inspiration is a personal and private matter.
However, keeping inspiration bottled inside leaves a pallor much like that on skin without exposure to sunlight. Yes, to extend the life of your inspiration, you must take daily doses of inspiration and share it throughout the day.
You need daily reminders of inspiration for the same reasons you should take vitamins. You need these reminders of all the good things that surround you. Read daily. Write daily. Thank daily. Serve daily. Pray daily.
Through daily action, you provide your healthy glow the sustenance it needs to convert from inspired thought into inspired action. Inspired action breeds more inspired action. Like a boulder at the top of a hill, your inspiration has enormous levels of potential energy — it just needs that first push. Push it through daily action, through daily inspiration and you will find that your inspiration will grow the more you share it.
So, what is the best way to share your inspiration? Through inspired actions. Everybody knows that actions speak louder than words. This is more than a catchy cliché. It rings loudly, and with truth. Your inspired actions in turn inspire others and, as your inspiration spreads, changes shape, form and transfers to others around you. It cycles back to you and has the power to change your world, your business and alter the outcomes of every situation in which you’ll find yourself.
You know how frustrating it is to listen to someone punch drunk with inspiration talk about all of the plans they have and all of the ideas they are going to implement — only to know in your heart that they are just that — punch drunk on inspiration.
Grab hold and open that jar every day. When you feel great, you act great, you hold your head high and have the confidence and courage to do things from that you would have otherwise shied away. As you learn that daily doses of personal inspiration fuel your ability to act and share your inspiration, you’ll find yourself feeling the warmth of the sun every day of the week.
For more ways to tap into inspired action visit www.boltfromtheblue.com and enter the word SUNTAN into the blueprint box.
Tom Richard is a Toledo-based sales and marketing consultant, keynote speaker and owner of Bolt from the Blue direct response advertising. For more information, visit www.BoltFromThe Blue.com or call (419) 441-1005.
Captain America, Steve Rogers, is coming back. You’re probably thinking three things: “The guy with the shield?” “I didn’t know he was gone,” and, “Steve who?”
I don’t blame you, really. Among superheroes, Captain America’s not a household name, despite his almost 70 years of history. And if you do know who he is you still may not be aware that his real name’s Steve Rogers – and that he’s dead. He died back in 2007 and replaced almost immediately by his former sidekick, Bucky.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Almost the exact same thing’s happening over at DC Comics with Batman, yes, but before you start yelling “copycat” please be assured that “sons” replacing “fathers” was first popular right about the time of the first cave paintings. Bucky, longtime assistant to Cap, took up the famous shield to honor his fallen mentor and has won the hearts and minds of not only the denizens of the Marvel Universe but those of even the most jaded comic book fans – and that ain’t easy.
Then, just this month, “Captain America” #600 hit the stands and with it the news that Steve Rogers is rising from the dead. As usual, comic fandom cracked down the middle and lines were drawn quicker than you can say “William Shatner and Chris Pine.” Those who hoped for Steve’s return feel justified in their faith; those who embraced Bucky and writer Ed Brubaker’s long and thoughtful tenure with the character feel cheated. Its old school versus new school and Marvel’s in the middle, albeit poised to sell a whole lot of comics.
By the way, you may also be thinking that 600 issues is a whole lot of Captain America. Well, it isn’t so. Not exactly. See, Marvel’s playing a little fast and loose with the numbering to get another milestone issue out to coincide with their 70th anniversary this year. The “Captain America” title actually began life in 1959 as “Tales of Suspense,” a horror- thriller anthology. Cap didn’t enter into the equation until issue #59 in 1964 but ran with the series from there until its cancellation with #454. Since then, three more series called “Captain America” have appeared and Marvel’s decided to add them all into the mix to arrive upon 600 issues. What they won’t do for one of their oldest heroes.
This July 1st will see the first issue of a five-issue series entitled, appropriately enough, “Reborn.” In it, Ed Brubaker will unveil the story of Steve Rogers – Captain America – and his return to life. Will he willingly take back the shield? Will Bucky object? Will the Red Skull gnash his teeth in fury? The legend continues…