Tuesday was Media Day at The Crossings for the 2011 U.S. Putting Tour Championship, which takes place on the Carlsbad course September 26 through October 2, and it was full of surprises.
First, USPT president, Jim Hartley, announced that Tiger Woods had added the USPT Championship to his Fall schedule. After the laughter died down, Mr. Hartley went on with his first real piece of news, specifically that Armada Sports & Entertainment has committed to producing a 30-minute television show on this year’s national putting championship. He said that Armada will be on hand with cameras on Saturday and Sunday, the final two days of the event. The show will be sold through syndication and is expected to air before the end of the year.
Mr. Hartley next informed the group in attendance that the winning professional at the championship gains an automatic entry into a 2012 World Putting Tour Championships event, which carries a $100,000 first prize. The world putting event is operated by the aforementioned Armada Sports & Entertainment.
Hartley also announced that the winner of the putting competition held on The Crossings’ main practice green, the site of the USPT Championship, was Brad Holland, CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Carlsbad, which is the official charity of the championship. A portion of the proceeds from entry fees will go to the Carlsbad charity. In addition, the tournament will feature a weeklong putting contest as a fundraiser. Everyone can enter the contest as many times as they want. When a person makes a putt in the contest, they qualify to return on Championship Sunday for a putt-off among everyone who made the putt throughout the week. When the putt-off gets down to one person, that individual will take one 50-foot putt worth $10,000 if it is made. If the contestant doesn’t make the putt, they still get a one-night stay and dinner for two at the Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa.
The USPT Championship crystal trophy was on display at Media Day. It will go to the overall winner of the putting tournament, regardless of whether the winner is a professional or amateur. In his address, Mr. Hartley explained that amateur golfers have the option of competing for the cash prizes, which includes the $10,000 guaranteed first-place prize, or signing a waiver that allows them to maintain their amateur status, as determined by the United States Golf Assocation.
Media Day got off to an early start with the appearance of FOX 5 TV’s Heather Ford who provided remote reports throughout the morning for the channel’s Morning Show. Other televsion stations in attendance included KUSI Channel 9 and KFMB Channel 8.
Several participants in the USPT Championship were on hand, as well, including Victor Rodriguez, a 16-yar-old golfer from Beaumont, California who will compete as a professional. Rodriguez recently competed in a preliminary round of the Re/Max World Long Drive Championship. He has registered drives over 375 yards in competition. Also among the guests were former NFL players, representatives from the San Diego Sports Commission, the Sheraton Carlsbad, Ashdon Golf, the presenting sponsor of the championship, and The Crossings.
Mr. Hartley indicated that golfers can enter the putting championship through the month of September by going to the U.S. Putting Tour website.