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Published: Sunday, 8/5/2012

FARR CLASSIC NOTEBOOK

Purse increased to $1.3 million to attract strong field

BY MARK MONROE
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
LPGA Tournament Director Judd Silverman LPGA Tournament Director Judd Silverman
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An addition of $300,000 to the prize money for the 2012 Jamie Farr Toledo Classic has helped attract an impressive field of golfers.

The total prize money in 2010 was $1 million. During the first year of the tournament in 1984, the purse was only $175,000.

Judd Silverman, the tournament's director since its inception, said the purse is an important ingredient.

"It's a real positive step forward for the tournament and I think the field of players that we have attracted is a result of that," Silverman said. "We have a tremendous field."

A field of 144 players has committed to participate. The winner in 2010, Na Yeon Choi, earned $150,000.

Choi also won the U.S. Women's Open on July 9 and took home $585,000. The purse for the Open is the biggest on the tour at $3.25 million.

READ MORE: 27th Annual Jamie Farr Toledo Classic Fan Guide

Choi will be back to defend her Farr championship, and the tour's current money leader, Ai Miyazato, is also expected to be in the field.

"When you look at the current LPGA money list and compare it to who we have committed, it's pretty impressive," Silverman said. "We will have 18 or 19 of the top 20. So we're very pleased."

NO TV: As was the case in 2010, the Farr Classic will not be on national television.

Traditionally the tournament's final three rounds had been televised. The Golf Channel covered the early rounds of the tournament in recent years and ESPN2 has carried the final round live. The 2009 tourney was the last time it was on TV.

"TV is not free," Silverman said. "There is a fee that goes along with TV. It was a decision strictly driven by our sponsors."

He said the main sponsors chose not to allocate funds for TV coverage.

"We're in the business of making money for local charities," Silverman said. "TV was more of an expense than a revenue."

The LPGA mandates that some stops on the tour must be televised.

"We were able to select a date where they did not make TV mandatory in the contract," Silverman said. "If there are any negatives, it might be that we won't get the national exposure that it has in the past. That's more of a community thing. We don't get the exposure for the community."

Silverman said he hopes the silver lining will be increased attendance.

"There is probably some truth to that," Silverman said. "If there is a positive we hope it drives more people out to the event."

BCSN on Buckeye CableSystem will cover the tournament much like it has in the past.

"BCSN is planning on a nightly live show Thursday through Sunday," said Veronica Pinciotti, BCSN director and general manager.

SAVE THE DATE: The traditional dates for the Farr Classic have been in early to mid-July since it was established in 1984.

Silverman said the motive to move the date came down to a break in the LPGA Tour's schedule.

The LPGA takes a week off leading up to the Farr. After the Evian Masters takes place in France on July 26-29, the tour has the next week off.

"We liked it from the perspective that it would attract the strongest field," Silverman said. "They play three straight weeks and then have a week off."

Farr officials hope that the golfers will want to get back at their games after the short hiatus.

LOGO LOGISTICS: The name change this year of the Farr Classic also necessitated a change in the tournament's logo.

Communica, Inc., which has offices located in Detroit, Columbus, and Toledo, designed the new logo.

"We've worked with them for a number of years," Silverman said.

Communica, Inc. also designed the logo for the 2011 U.S. Senior Open which was played at Inverness Club..

The logo for the Farr Classic in the past had featured the Pink Panther, the advertising "mascot" that represents Owens Corning.

Owens Corning has since dropped down to a "presenting sponsor" as opposed to the "title sponsor."

The logo has been simplified with the letter 'F" in Jamie Farr's name forming the shape of a golf club.

"They did a great job," Silverman said. "Everyone likes the 'F.' It's sharp and good looking."

HOMECOMING: Stacy Lewis will return to her hometown to compete in the Farr Classic for the fourth time, including an appearance as a sponsor exemption in 2008 while playing as an amateur at the University of Arkansas.

She would appear to be poised for her first top-10 finish and probably has higher aspirations for this week's tournament at Highland Meadows.

Lewis, a Toledo native who moved at a young age with her family to Texas, posted two early-season LPGA wins in 2012 and rose to No. 3 in the world rankings entering the recent Evian Masters tournament in France. Her wins in Mobile, Ala., and Atlantic City, N.J., came during a stretch of five straight top-5 finishes.

Entering Evian, she was No. 4 on the season money list with $941,860. She has compiled career earnings of more than $3.1 million since joining the tour in 2009.

There's little mystery as to how she's been doing it. Not a long hitter, but extremely accurate, she is among tour leaders in greens-in-regulation and in putting average, a pretty stout combination that has allowed Lewis to be the most prolific birdie-maker on tour.

SHOW STOPPERS: A comedian and a performance painter will be the headline acts at the annual Farr Classic dinner show.

The Hollywood Casino Gala Dinner & Show will take place at the SeaGate Centre at 6 p.m. Tuesday. The event will feature comedian Tom Dreesen and performance painter David Garibaldi.

Dreesen has made numerous appearances over the years on the Tonight Show and once toured with Frank Sinatra.

Garibaldi is a world-renowned artist whose stage act features rapidly created paintings. He has appeared in the current season of the TV show America's Got Talent.

Tickets to the dinner can be purchased by contacting the tournament office at 419-531-3277.

SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS: Four area high school students have received college scholarships presented annually by the Jamie Farr Scholarship Fund. The scholarships are worth $3,000 per year and are renewable over four years.

The award winners this year are: Michaela Marincic, Findlay, 4.52 grade-point average, St. Olaf College; Chase Meyer, Ayersville, 3.80, Miami University; Abigail Vaculik, Maumee, 4.07, Ohio State; and Nathaniel Wilhelm, Bowling Green, 4.31, Ohio Northern.

PRE-TOURNAMENT EVENTS: Several pro-ams will be held in the three days leading up to the start of the tournament.

The biggest event, the Fathead Celebrity Pro-Am, will be held Wednesday beginning at 7 a.m. Former University of Toledo quarterback Chuck Ealey will join Jamie Farr in the event, as will the top 58 LPGA players that are in the field.

Other pro-ams will be held Monday and Tuesday.



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