Online trading and banking company Ally Financial Inc (NYSE: ALLY) has announced that it will be sponsoring a new annual PGA TOUR Champions event, to be contested in Grand Blanc, Michigan. The Champions Tour is PGA golf’s professional golf circuit for players 50 years old and up, and has become increasingly popular with golf fans worldwide in the past few years.
The Ally Challenge marks the sixth new event announced by the Champions Tour over the past two-and-a-half years, and becomes the newest staple on a schedule that currently features tournaments in four countries and 18 states.
The Ally Challenge will debut the week of September 10-16, 2018 at longtime PGA TOUR venue Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club, which hosted the Buick Open for 45 years through 2009. The tournament will feature a $2 million purse, with a three-year agreement in place through 2020.
Ally Financial Chief Marketing and Public Relations Officer Andrea Riley, PGA TOUR Champions President Greg McLaughlin, Tournament President Trent Marshall, Tournament Director Chris Coffman and World Golf Hall of Fame member Mark O’Meara were the featured speakers at today’s announcement in Grand Blanc.
Ally Financial Chief Marketing and Public Relations Officer Andrea Riley said:
We are very proud to be bringing The Ally Challenge to Warwick Hills next fall, and to be part of the spirit and legacy of PGA TOUR Champions. Our sponsorship of this tournament not only brings an exciting sporting event to the area, but also reflects our deep commitment to doing right in our communities and making meaningful contributions to the places where we live and work. We’ve played a significant role in the revitalization of Detroit over the past decade, and with the debut of The Ally Challenge next fall, we’ll be extending those efforts and helping to also drive positive economic impacts in the communities of Flint and Grand Blanc.
Ally, which has a long history in Detroit, is a leading digital financial services company. Ally expanded its presence in online trading last year, with its $275 million acquisition of TradeKing.
The PGA TOUR and its tournaments donated more than $166 million to charitable causes in 2016, in turn bringing the all-time total generated for charity to $2.46 billion since 1938. Net proceeds from The Ally Challenge will benefit one or more qualified 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations in the greater Flint area.
“We are excited to welcome Ally Financial to the PGA TOUR Champions family as we usher in a new era of golf at Warwick Hills,” said McLaughlin. “We are aligned with Ally in our goals to give back to this great community while creating a year-round impact through what should quickly become one of our most popular events.”
Warwick Hills, designed in 1957 by noted architect Joe Lee, hosted the PGA TOUR’s best players for nearly half a century, delivering champions such as Tiger Woods, Billy Casper and Julius Boros, as well as current PGA TOUR Champions players Fred Couples, Vijay Singh, Hale Irwin and Kenny Perry, to name a few.
“Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club is honored to build on its rich tournament tradition by hosting the Ally Challenge,” said Marshall. “We are looking forward to working with the PGA TOUR again and providing an unparalleled experience that participants and fans will cherish and that Warwick Hills, the City of Grand Blanc and the greater Flint community will treasure as a part of golf history in our community.”
O’Meara, a 16-time PGA TOUR winner who was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2015, made 18 career starts at Warwick Hills, where he notched four top-10 finishes, including a runner-up effort to Woods in 2002.
“It’s incredible to have the opportunity to come back to Grand Blanc, the greater Flint area and Warwick Hills to compete in a PGA TOUR Champions event,” said O’Meara, who also owns two PGA TOUR Champions titles. “This community was a great host to PGA TOUR players for a number of years, and we received tremendous support from the fans throughout the years.”
The event will be managed by HNS Sports Group with Coffman serving as the Tournament Director.
Tournaments for Charity, a 501(c)(3) owned and operated by HNS, will serve as the tournament’s host organization.
“The Ally Challenge provides a great opportunity for South East Michigan to participate in a world-class golf tournament once again,” said Coffman. “This tournament will serve as a tremendous platform for the region by offering sponsorship, hospitality and pro-am options that will allow corporations and individuals alike to gain benefit from, and enjoy, all the amazing attributes found in a PGA TOUR Champions event.”
The Ally Challenge will be one of the premier Regular Season events on PGA TOUR Champions in 2018, which will give way to the third-annual Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs – a season-ending, three tournament series used to determine the Tour’s season-long champion.
All three rounds of The Ally Challenge will be broadcast on Golf Channel.