Facts about the Chiquita Classic
• First PGA or Web.com Tour event ever in Lake Norman
• All proceeds from ticket sales benefit area charities
• Previously held in Cincinnati and Weddington
Visit www.chiquitaclassic.com for more details.
DAVIDSON – The recently completed Wells Fargo Championship is making way for another, although smaller, big-money golf tournament this year in the Charlotte region.
The Web.com Tour – the stepping-stone to the PGA Tour, which presents the Wells Fargo tournament – will hold the million-dollar Chiquita Classic at River Run Country Club in Davidson Sept. 5-8.
While the Chiquita Classic winner will earn $180,000, the Lake Norman region stands to receive millions from the four-day tournament in the form of national television exposure, hotel use and tourism.
Tim Benton, vice president of business affairs for the PGA Tour, said the tournament will trigger in the neighborhood of $6-8 million in economic impact.
“This is driven by fans, players and families, The Golf Channel, caddies and tour staff who all come to the region and spend dollars doing so," he said. "For perspective, we'll have players from about 20 different countries competing in the event.”
Every round of the tournament will be broadcast on The Golf Channel to a global audience, which dramatically increases exposure to the lake area, Visit Lake Norman Sports Marketing Manager Travis Dancy said.
The event will be the first in a three-year deal with the tour. The Chiquita Classic was held at The Club at Longview in Weddington last year.
“We’re definitely ecstatic that the event is coming to Lake Norman,” Dancy said. “Without question, it’s the most significant golf tournament to the area in a long time.”
More eyes will be on the event because of its importance to the tour schedule. It’s the second of four Web.com Tour Finals events, which pit the top 75 regular-season money winners on the Web.com Tour and players ranked 126-200 in the PGA’s FedEx Cup standings against one another.
The PGA Tour has a bye week, so more attention will go to the players in Davidson.
“The value of exposure for our region is going to be tremendous,” Dancy said. “Labor Day weekend for tourism is often a shoulder period, but it won’t be this time.”
Four area hotels are already contracted to host media and tour staff.
Chiquita’s corporate headquarters are in Charlotte. Benton said that having two well-received tournaments in the area go a long way with the tour’s viability in the region.
“This is also an opportunity for us to deepen our corporate ties to Charlotte,” he said.
“This is a great golf market, with fans who love tour golf and support both events, so we're glad to get the level of support in Charlotte and Davidson. I think this is a great opportunity for the Davidson community, including the (Davidson) students, to get a tour event in their backyard. I recently visited River Run, and it is an outstanding course which our players will thoroughly enjoy.”
The tour also benefits from having a new site on its schedule, Benton added.
“We're able to tell a global audience what a great area Davidson is,” he said.“It highlights the greater Charlotte area and gives viewers on a global basis some exposure for the region.”