World Golf Hall of Fame member Fred Couples named 2019 Ambassador of Golf
Couples to be honored at inaugural charity event during Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS
AKRON, Ohio – World Golf Hall of Fame member and 1992 Masters champion Fred Couples has been named the 2019 recipient of the Ambassador of Golf Award, which is presented by the FirstEnergy Foundation. The Ambassador of Golf Award honors a person who has fostered the ideals of the game on an international level and whose concern for others extends beyond the golf course.
The evening’s festivities will include a new charity fundraiser that will support the tournament’s key charities, including the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, Akron Children’s Hospital, The First Tee of Akron, University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, Summa Health System and Cleveland Clinic Akron General.
Couples will be presented the award on Thursday, July 11 at Firestone Country Club following the first round of the Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS Championship. FirstEnergy Corp. and Westfield are the Founding Partners for this PGA TOUR Champions major championship debuting at Firestone Country Club, July 10-14.
“Fred Couples has been an iconic figure in our sport and we are thrilled that he will be the recipient of the 2019 Ambassador of Golf Award," said PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan. “In addition to having a World Golf Hall of Fame playing career, Fred has brought so many new fans into the game with his style, flair and the ease in how he appears to play the game. There’s no question he has been one of the most popular players in golf over the last 30 years and that continues today on PGA TOUR Champions.”
“Throughout my career I’ve had the pleasure of playing alongside a number of Ambassador of Golf recipients, so to now have my name amongst those legends of the game is truly an honor,” said Couples. “Each honoree who has come before me has been a true representative of our sport and I hope I can continue to represent the game of golf for the remainder of my competitive career and beyond.”
In the pursuit of continuing the legacy of professional golf’s charitable giving with the debut of the PGA TOUR Champions in Akron, Ambassador of Golf Award packages are available for purchase to attend the ceremony and dinner honoring Couples. The evening will feature a fireside chat with the Hall of Fame member along with a variety of guest speakers to highlight Couples’ legacy. All proceeds from the Ambassador of Golf Award will benefit the tournament’s six key charities.
“We are excited for the Ambassador of Golf Award presented by FirstEnergy Foundation to become a signature charitable fundraiser that will help continue the golf tournament’s tradition of giving back to the community,” said Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS Executive Director, Don Padgett III. “Thank you to FirstEnergy Foundation for their generous support. We are asking area organizations and individuals to step up and support this philanthropic effort that will be a memorable evening for all that attend.”
Born on October 3, 1959 in Seattle, Washington, Couples and his family lived in a modest house on Beacon Hill near the city’s Jefferson Park golf course. After high school, he earned a golf scholarship to the University of Houston where he was roommates with future PGA TOUR player Blaine McCallister and 2018 Ambassador of Golf recipient, Jim Nantz.
Couples turned professional in 1980 and became a dominant force in the early 1990s, earning the Jack Nicklaus Award as the PGA TOUR’s Player of the Year in 1991 and 1992. During a career-best, three-win season in 1992, Couples etched his name into golf history when at age 32, he won his first major championship at the Masters with a two-stroke victory over Raymond Floyd. He went on to build a resume that included 15 PGA TOUR wins, highlighted by PLAYERS Championship titles in 1984 and 1996.
A fixture for the United States in international team competitions, Couples played on five Ryder Cup teams and four Presidents Cup teams. He represented the United States in the inaugural Presidents Cup in 1994 and won all three of his matches as the Americans beat the International team, 20-12. In addition, he captained or co-captained winning Presidents Cup teams in 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017.
In 2010, just two months after turning 50, Couples made his PGA TOUR Champions debut at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai. Since then he has continued his storied career on the 50-and-over Tour, winning 13 career titles and more than $10 million in earnings. Just three years into his PGA TOUR Champions career, Couples was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame.
“As PGA TOUR Champions enters our first year at Firestone Country Club it is a delight to be able to honor one of our own as the 2019 Ambassador of Golf,” said PGA TOUR Champions President Miller Brady. “Fred’s distinguished career and passion for the game of golf are woven into the fabric of our sport and we are elated he has been presented with this esteemed award. To be able to carry on the legacy that is the Ambassador of Golf as we embark on a four-year journey here is a privilege.”
Couples joins an illustrious list of Ambassador of Golf Award winners: 1981 Chi Chi Rodriguez; 1982 Bing Crosby; 1983 Byron Nelson; 1984 Gene Sarazen; 1985 President Gerald Ford; 1986 Bob Hope; 1987 Dinah Shore; 1988 Joe Dey; 1989 Frank Chirkinian; 1990 Barbara Nicklaus; 1991 Arnold Palmer; 1992 Nancy Lopez; 1993 Roberto De Vicenzo; 1994 President George H.W. Bush; 1995 Michael Bonnallack; 1996 Deane Beman; 1997 Peter Thomson; 1998 Ken Venturi; 1999 Gary Player; 2000 Ben Hogan and Sam Snead; 2001 Del de Windt; 2002 Joanne Carner; 2003 Robert Dedman, Sr. and Jack Vickers; 2004 Lee Trevino; 2005 Pete Dye; 2006 Ken Schofield; 2007 Tony Jacklin; 2008 Charlie Sifford; 2009 Hale Irwin; 2010 Tom Watson; 2011 Nick Price; 2012 Nick Faldo; 2013 Jack Nicklaus; 2014 Johnny Miller; 2015 Judy Rankin; 2016 Davis Love III; 2017 Peter Jacobsen and 2018 Jim Nantz.
Ambassador of Golf Award presented by FirstEnergy Foundation package information including tickets to attend the evening ceremony and dinner on July 11th can be found at BridgestoneSeniorPlayers.com. To purchase a package or for inquiries, please contact Nancy Musci at 330-245-2302 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS or to purchase tickets to the 2019 tournament, please visit BridgestoneSeniorPlayers.com or call 844-868-7465.
ABOUT THE BRIDGESTONE SENIOR PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP
The Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS is one of five major championships contested annually on PGA TOUR Champions for eligible professionals age 50 and over. The 2019 tournament will be held the week of July 8-14 at Firestone Country Club’s South Course, ensuring professional golf’s 65-year tradition in Northeast Ohio. The tournament started in 1983 at the Canterbury Golf Club. In total, the tournament has been played in nine different cities at some of the country’s top venues including The Philadelphia Cricket Club, Caves Valley Golf Club, Fox Chapel Golf Club, Westchester Country Club and Exmoor Country Club. A field of 78 professionals will compete for a share of the $2.8 million purse with the champion earning a $420,000 price and an exemption into THE PLAYERS Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
ABOUT PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS
PGA TOUR Champions is a membership organization of professional golfers age 50 and older, including 32 members of the World Golf Hall of Fame. The Tour’s mission is to provide financial opportunities for its players, entertain and inspire its fans, deliver substantial value to its partners, create outlets for volunteers to give back and generate significant charitable and economic impact in tournament communities. In 2019, the PGA TOUR Champions schedule includes 27 tournaments across the United States, Japan, England and Canada, with purses totaling nearly $58 million. The Charles Schwab Cup, which includes the Regular Season and the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs, is used to determine the season-long champion. All events are televised in the United States, with most receiving complete coverage on Golf Channel, the exclusive cable-television partner of PGA TOUR Champions. Internationally, telecasts air in excess of 170 countries and territories, reaching more than 340 million potential households, and distributed in 15+ markets via GOLFTV. Follow PGA TOUR Champions online at PGATOUR.com, at facebook.com/PGATOURChampions, on Twitter @ChampionsTour and on Instagram @pgatourchampions.
ABOUT FIRSTENERGY FOUNDATION
The FirstEnergy Foundation is funded solely by FirstEnergy Corp. and provides support to non-profit, tax-exempt health and human services agencies; educational organizations; cultural and arts programs and institutions; and civic groups in areas served by FirstEnergy’s 10 electric operating companies and in areas where the company conducts business.
ABOUT FIRSTENERGY CORP.
Based in Akron, Ohio, FirstEnergy Corp. is dedicated to safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its 10 electric distribution companies form one of the nation's largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York. The company's transmission subsidiaries operate more than 24,500 miles of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions.
Bridgestone Corporation, headquartered in Tokyo, is the world’s largest tire and rubber company. In addition to tires for use in a wide variety of applications, it also manufactures a broad range of diversified products, which include industrial rubber and chemical products and sporting goods. Its products are sold in over 150 nations and territories around the world.
ABOUT BRIDGESTONE AMERICAS, INC.
Nashville, Tenn.-based Bridgestone Americas, Inc. (BSAM) is the U.S. subsidiary of Bridgestone Corporation, the world’s largest tire and rubber company. BSAM and its subsidiaries develop, manufacture and market a wide range of Bridgestone, Firestone and associate brand tires to address the needs of a broad range of customers, including consumers, automotive and commercial vehicle original equipment manufacturers and those in the agricultural, forestry and mining industries. The companies are also engaged in retreading operations throughout the Western Hemisphere and produce air springs, roofing materials and industrial fibers and textiles. The BSAM family of companies also operates the world’s largest chain of automotive tire and service centers. Guided by its One Team, One Planet message, the company is dedicated to achieving a positive environmental impact in all of the communities it calls home.