News release from the Western Golf Association:
Duke Butler IV to head Hotel Fitness Championship
New Web.com Tour event set for Sycamore Hills Golf Club in 2013
Duke Butler IV will serve as tournament director of the new Hotel Fitness Championship, to be held Aug. 26-Sept. 1, 2013, at Sycamore Hills Golf Club in Fort Wayne.
Butler will head the day to day operations of the championship for the Western Golf Association, which is conducting the event, said Vince Pellegrino, WGA vice president of tournaments.
“Duke has been around golf his entire life, and for the past seven years he’s gained valuable experience working for PGA TOUR tournaments and sponsors,” said Pellegrino. “I’m confident that, with his knowledge and skills, he’ll do a great job in planning and directing a first-class championship for players, fans and the entire Fort Wayne community.”
Butler, a 2005 University of Florida graduate, has worked with PGA TOUR tournaments and sponsors in various sports marketing roles, most recently with the Frys.com Open as player relations director. At Florida he earned a degree in advertising and also played for the Gator’s men’s golf team. He was a teammate with current PGA TOUR players Camilo Villegas – a former BMW Championship winner – and Matt Every.
As an amateur player, Butler has competed in six USGA Championships, including four U.S. Amateurs, and is a former Jacksonville Amateur champion. He also competed in six Western Amateurs and two Western Juniors. His father, Duke Butler III, has been affiliated with the PGA TOUR for 38 years and is a WGA Director.
“I’ve admired the Western Golf Association for many years, first as a competitor in the Western Junior and Western Amateur, and look forward to working for them as tournament director of the Hotel Fitness Championship.” Butler said. “The WGA is a leader in the golf world and conducts first-class championships on all levels for a great cause, the Evans Scholars Foundation. The opportunity to make an impact in and around Fort Wayne with this new event, and to bring PGA TOUR quality golf to the area, is very exciting.”
A native of Houston, Texas, Butler has lived in or around Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., the past 17 years. He is relocating to Fort Wayne this fall.
Starting in 2013, Sycamore Hills Golf Club will host the inaugural Web.com Tour Finals event, the Hotel Fitness Championship. The event will feature the top 75 players on the money list from the 2013 Web.com Tour along with players ranking from 126 to 200 on the PGA TOUR FedExCup points list. The Hotel Fitness Championship is the first of four Web.com Tour Finals events in which these players will compete for their 2014 PGA TOUR cards.
The championship will be televised on the Golf Channel and broadcast nationally, as well as internationally to more than 185 countries worldwide. Many players familiar to golf fans will be competing. For example, had the event been held this year, Retief Goosen, John Daly, Camilo Villegas, Justin Leonard and Chris DiMarco could have been among the players competing for the $1 million purse and first prize of $180,000.
The Hotel Fitness Championship is expected to have an economic impact of $5-7 million to the local economy. This presents an excellent opportunity to showcase Fort Wayne and the surrounding area both nationally and internationally.
Giving back is the heart of the PGA TOUR, and many local charities will benefit from the championship. The Evans Scholars Foundation will be the primary beneficiary, while other charities will be actively encouraged to be involved. PGA TOUR events have generated almost $2 billion for charities to date.
Founded in 1899, the WGA conducts championships for professional and amateur golfers, promotes the use caddies, and oversees the Evans Scholars Foundation, which awards college scholarships to caddies with limited financial means. The WGA is also the host organization for the PGA TOUR’s BMW Championship, to be held Sept. 9-15 at Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, Ill. For more information on the WGAESF visit.