Sentry Tournament of Champions is more than just a golf tournament

VIEWPOINT

For one week every January, the winners on the PGA Tour gather at Kapalua for the Sentry Tournament of Champions, a celebration of the very best golf on the planet set against the most picturesque backdrop in the sport.

But the tournament is so much more than a single week.

For 21 years, Maui has been the perfect setting for the Sentry Tournament of Champions. It is where we live, work and host this prestigious event, an event that has been supported by the community since the beginning and showcases the very best the island has to offer. That community support has given the tournament the opportunity to give more than $6.3 million to local charities since 1999 — helping make a difference for 52 weeks a year.

Yes, the golf at The Plantation Course is thrilling — from Tiger Woods and Ernie Ells’ duel in 2000 to winners like Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas. But the excitement of the tournament always passes, and the lasting impression of an incredible tournament week is one of a sense of community, of making a long-term charitable impact and quality of life improvements for keiki, citizens and communities across this beautiful island.

The Sentry Tournament of Champions has been a stable of the community for more than two decades and it’s truly amazing to see the impact the event has throughout the island.

Alvin Kaohohina, a nursing home resident at Hale Makua Health Services, one of our principal charitable beneficiaries, sees the impact every day. Alvin has been a resident at Hale Makua for the past 12 years after a devastating car accident rendered him unable to care for himself and live without round-the-clock assistance. Alvin made the selfless choice to move to Hale Makua so that his family would not feel burdened with having to care for him. Alvin shares, “There are a lot of reasons I like living here (Hale Makua), but most important for me is the 24-hour care I receive. That alone has allowed me to live comfortably, without worry.”

Since the Sentry Tournament of Champions was first staged at The Plantation Course in 1999, we have understood the incredible privilege we’ve been gifted to host and showcase one of the most exclusive fields in golf on one of the sport’s most breathtakingly beautiful courses. However, we have built and established a core mission underscoring that we are more than just a golf tournament — we are a community trust. And the community should expect good citizenship from its corporate leaders and neighbors.

And as one of 47 annual PGA Tour events that all have the same charitable focus in the markets in which they play, we’re proud to contribute to the PGA Tour’s 2018 charitable total of $190 million and overall total of $2.84 billion. That is a staggering number that is hard to contextualize, but seeing the impact on people like Alvin at Hale Makua helps highlight the important work that worthy nonprofits do on Maui every day.

Since National Golf Day was this week, I encourage you to walk nine holes after work or hit a bucket of balls with a friend, but also celebrate the real, positive change that is taking place in our community on a daily basis as a result of this great game.

* Alex Urban is the general manager of the Sentry Tournament of Champions, the only event on the PGA Tour schedule that exclusively features winners from the previous calendar year.

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