When the Korn Ferry Tour, the top development tour for professional golf, announced it would come to Falmouth Country Club in 2020, organizers began looking for their PGA Tour-mandated charitable beneficiary.

The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital made perfect sense, on many levels. Wednesday the charitable partnership with the Live + Work in Maine Open, which will be June 11-14, was announced at a press conference in the atrium of the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center.

“I think all the stars aligned here. We were specifically looking toward at a youth-orientated initiative and there was a great opportunity here to make a mutual impact,” said Brian Corcoran, the CEO and founder of Shamrock Sports & Entertainment.

“We’ve set a $100,000 goal for the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital for 2020,”  Corcoran said.

Shamrock Sports brokered the five-year deal to bring the Korn Ferry Tour to Maine through 2024 and will manage the tournament. Corcoran said he expects the children’s hospital to be the charitable partnership throughout the current agreement. This year’s tournament will feature a 156-player field competing for a total purse of $600,000.

The Korn Ferry Tour, founded in 1990 and owned and operated by the PGA Tour, features top aspiring professional golfers from around the world. For each golfer the goal is to earn one of 50 coveted PGA Tour cards. Half of those go to the top 25 on the season points list, the other half are earned at a three-event finals. Korn Ferry Tour alumni have won more than 500 PGA Tour titles, including 24 major championships.

Former PGA Tour Commissioner Deane Beman is credited with creating what is now known as the PGA Korn Ferry Tour, which will come to Falmouth Country Club in June. Steve Craig photo

“You can be certain of coming to this tournament and seeing future stars,” said the tournament’s honorary chair Deane Beman, who was the PGA Tour commissioner from 1974-94.

Beman, 81, is credited with creating the Korn Ferry Tour (then called the Ben Hogan Tour). He also established the PGA as non-profit and saw the tour increase charitable giving from less than $1 million to over $30 million annually over his tenure.

“As important as this facility is, I’d be surprised if they didn’t beat that goal of $100,000 this year,” Beman said.

Beman was a longtime friend and frequent golfing partner of former U.S. President George H. W. Bush, whom he met in the early 1960s. Beman’s wife, Judy, and Barbara Bush became close after the Bemans bought a summer home in Kennebunkport.

Choosing the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital also fit in with the goal of the tournament’s title sponsor. Live + Work is a statewide initiative to market Maine as a career destination. MaineHealth, the parent company of Maine Med and the children’s hospital, is far and away Maine’s largest company with over 18,000 employees.

Corcoran said it’s his intent to make the tournament, and its associated special events, well-attended.

“We will make this attractive for golf fans but equally for people who are fans of a good time, supporting a great cause,” Corcoran said.

Single-day general admission tickets cost $10 with a four-day general admission pass costing $30. There are also four-day VIP packages that start at $700. All tickets can be purchased through the tournament website: themaineopen.com.

Falmouth Country Club co-owner Jason Harris said the course has already undergone alterations to improve drainage, improve some greens and add new tees. Other improvements will be made over a two-to-three year period, with the PGA sharing the cost 50-50 with the club.

“It improves the product for our membership and improves the golf course and we give up a week in June to raise some money for charity which is very important to us,” said Harris, who added, “to bring in the future of the PGA Tour, and that caliber of golfer, for the Maine people to experience, it’s just phenomenal.”


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