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A chance to 'shine on a world stage'

Rochester Business Journal
August 16, 2013

The multiyear effort to bring off the 95th PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club ended with delivery of the Wanamaker Trophy and the winner's payout of roughly $1.4 million to champion Jason Dufner. Along the way, thousands of volunteers, fans and businesspeople helped make the event a showcase for Rochester.

The Rochester Business Journal surveyed some local business leaders this week for their reflections on the recently completed event. The newspaper asked three questions:

•    What was the best part of the PGA Championship?
•    What was the worst part?
•    What will be your one lasting memory of the event?

The good

Some, including Phil Yawman, vice president and general manager of Frontier Communications Corp.'s Rochester market, viewed the overall performance of Rochester as the best part.
 
"Hosting championship golf tournaments is Rochester's Super Bowl, and we are very good at it. The Rochester community and Oak Hill once again demonstrated its capacity to shine on a world stage," he wrote in an email. "It brought our community together, provided a great economic boost to countless local businesses and was a very exciting week.
 
"Made me proud to be a lifelong Rochesterian, a member of Oak Hill Country Club and active volunteer in this amazing event.”

Steve Martin, senior vice president at Canandaigua National Bank & Trust Co., said it was the overwhelming support provided by the Greater Rochester and Finger Lakes community.

"We are a celebrated 'minor league' sports town and clearly 'major league' when it comes to golf," he wrote. "The region was showcased exceptionally well!"

John Pitton, Bank of America Corp.'s Rochester market president, found it tough to pick a single best part. "So many best parts to mention. The record crowds. The courteous manner in which the crowds behaved. The PGA policy of allowing juniors in for free. The hard work of the Oak Hill staff to repair the grounds and muddy areas from Friday night to Saturday morning. The players being very accessible to the crowds and requests for autographs, especially during practice rounds," he wrote.

Monro Muffler Brake Inc. CEO John Van Heel wrote: "It was a great way to show off the Rochester community. A great course, large crowds, great weather (other than Friday morning) and very good golf combined to make it a great event for locals and visitors."

The bad

The business officials found it more difficult to identify the worst part. Bank of America's Pitton said he did not really see a worst part.

"Maybe the large crowds challenged the parking capacity of MCC, but I thought that the parking shuttle teams did a wonderful job all week in getting crowds moved in and off the grounds," he wrote.

For Yawman, the week went by way too fast, he said. Martin disliked Friday's rain.

"However, the Oak Hill CC grounds staff did a magnificent job in managing this act of nature," Martin added.

Most memorable

When asked about the most memorable moment, Yawman shared two.

"Standing behind the 18th green on Sunday, looking back down the fairway, seeing the enormous crowds everywhere, and thinking what a perfect setting for Rochester and Oak Hill to once again become part of golf history," he wrote. "A second lasting memory is the ear-to-ear smiles on kids' faces when they got autographs and balls from the players and how willingly most of the players engaged the kids throughout the week."

Martin added a bit of golf and a bit of business to his memory.

"Jason Day's shot-making clinic on Sunday and Canandaigua National Bank's rewarding work with local charities during the week-a heartening perspective."

Van Heel will remember the crowd's roar after Tim Clark's hole-in-one on No. 11.

For Pitton, it was the award ceremony to close out the week: "Watching with what seems like thousands of others as Jason Dufner was awarded the Wanamaker Trophy, and thinking about what a fitting champion he was."

8/16/13 (c) 2012 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.


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