The PGA of America is unwavering in its commitment to Benton Harbor and the entire region and made that clear this morning by releasing a brief statement following Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammad's Facebook post that appeared to threaten the 2020 Championship season with a lack of community support, due to the state's desire to suspend operations at Benton Harbor High School next year.
Championship Director Ryan Ogle issued the brief statement which reads as follows:
“The KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship is committed to Benton Harbor and Michigan’s Southwest community. Together with our many community volunteers and supporters, the PGA of America is looking forward to presenting the very best KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship in 2020 and beyond at Harbor Shores”
With questions being raised throughout the Benton Harbor community about what the Championship golf event even does for the city, the schools and the region, research shows there's considerable value to the annual affair at Harbor Shores.
These are some of the ways in which the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship benefits the community:
- In 2016, the Championship operations and attendees accounted for $7,500,000 in direct spending and $3,600,000 in indirect/induced spending in Berrien County, a total of $11,000,000 (Source: Michigan Economic Development Corporation – Economic Impact Analysis of the 2016 Senior PGA Championship).
- In 2016, PGA vendors staffed their operations during the event with help from area residents, totaling 599 temporary jobs that paid out wages over $630,000 (Source: Michigan Economic Development Corporation – Economic Impact Analysis of the 2016 Senior PGA Championship).
- The four Championships in Benton Harbor have resulted in over $20,000,000 in media exposure for Benton Harbor and Harbor Shores through national and global media coverage (Source: Nielsen Sports – Championship Valuation Reports).
- The 16.5 hours of live coverage from NBC and Golf Channel is broadcast to over 200,000,000 households and 120 countries in the world, showcasing Harbor Shores and community landmarks (Source: PGA Broadcasting Partner NBC Sports).
- Nearly a million dollars have been donated by the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship to local youth non-profits in Benton Harbor, including Benton Harbor Area School’s Athletic Department, The First Tee of Benton Harbor, Boys & Girls Club of Benton Harbor, and Benton Harbor Promise (Source: PGA of America).
Even Harbor Shores course architect Jack Nicklaus and his wife Barbara created an annual scholarship exclusively for Benton Harbor Area Schools students last year which is designed to pay out $25,000 a year through 2024 to a student from the school. You can read that story as shared last year on Moody on the Market by clicking this link:
Additionally, PGA of America CEO Derek Sprague presented Lynn Todman and Cathy Averill of the Benton Harbor Promise with a check for $100,000 at the Championship three years ago in 2016, to help fulfill the promise made to Benton Harbor graduating seniors of a 2-year post-secondary education free of charge following their graduation from high school. You can read that story by clicking this link:
Meanwhile, Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammad has scheduled a City of Benton Harbor Press Conference for Tuesday morning (6/11/19) at the George W. Romney Building located at 111 S. Capitol in Lansing to deliver his response to the State of Michigan's proposals for Benton Harbor Area Schools.
No further information on that plan is available at this time.