As Sheehan explained it, “I have been asked for the past few years about the possibility of such an event in Reno and I did not feel that I could assemble a working committee until this year that would guarantee a successful event.”
As she introduced the key members of her tournament team, Sheehan said she felt that the time had come to bring a major professional women’s tournament to northern Nevada. Not only will Sheehan herself be playing, but so will several of the top names on the senior ladies roster. A few that she announced included Hall of Famers Betsy King and Pat Bradley, as well as Rosie Jones, who is the 2011 U.S. Solheim Cup team captain.
Sheehan led off the press conference by introducing Reno Mayor Bob Cashell, who said, “This promises to be a great event for the area since Patty will bring great golfers and a great number of ladies golf fans to the area. I have seven granddaughters myself and I hope they all take up golf.”
The mayor promised the support of the city of Reno and said he would help in seeking support from the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority.
Sheehan then introduced the tournament director, Rebecca Gaston, who took to the podium and said, “An LPG Legends Tour event is completely different than anything that this community has seen in recent years. Limited roping along the course will provide an opportunity for spectators to get right in on the action and follow their favorite LPGA legends along the fairway. Patty Sheehan & Friends provides yet another feather in Reno’s cap of golf achievements. Then Gaston went on to introduce the key members of her team that were present.
Wayne Brander, the president of the Hidden Valley Country Club, spoke on behalf of all club members and said, “We are honored to be the site of this spectacular event and proud that our golf course has been so honored. We are looking forward to a highly successful inaugural tournament.”
The Patty Sheehan Tournament will be one of seven that will be played on the Legends tour this year and will offer prize money of $225,000. The tourney will be a 36-hole contest on June 4 and 5. Tickets are already on sale and are priced at $10, with free admission for people younger than 17 years old and members of the military. The Patty Sheehan Foundation has been established so that all proceeds will be distributed to local charities.
The Pro-Am portion of the tournament will be played on June 3 and June 6. The second round of Pro-Am had to be added since the first round is already sold out. Interestingly, the Pro-Am is open to both men and women golfers and there will be four amateurs paired with each professional. It is estimated that 40 pro golfers will be singed-up for the tournament.
A representative of the LPGA Legends tour took to the mic and noted that she was impressed with the caliber of the facilities and the staffing for the Patty Sheehan and Friends event.
During one of her turns at the podium, Sheehan noted that it was very appropriate that the local event will take place at Hidden Valley since that was the course on which she learned to play. She paid tribute to her mother, who was in the audience, for monitoring and keeping her focused on excelling at the game. She also gave great thanks to the late Eddie Jones, who was her teaching pro at hidden valley. I well remember Jones since he was one of the most cooperative and affable of the golf professionals who was in charge when the Mapes Invitation Tournaments were played here in the 1960s. The Mapes event used the Hidden Valley course, the Washoe County course, which was under direction of the late Pete Marich, and the championship course at Incline Village, which had a series of excellent pros on duty. Following the completion of the three-day Mapes tournament, the sponsor, Charles Mapes, always staged a ladies tournament and awards luncheon at Hidden Valley for the women volunteers that worked his tourney.
Complete schedule for the Patty Sheehan and Friends tournament includes:
• June 2 — Pros play a practice round with the public welcome. In the afternoon, there will be a mixed clinic for 60 players for $500. There also will be a girls clinic in the afternoon hosted by the First Tee of Northern Nevada and that evening there will be a Pro-Am pairing party.
• June 3 — There will be a Pro-Am morning breakfast, then the Pro-Am plays, a Pro-Am lunch on the course and in the evening a Patty’s party and Pro-Am awards ceremony.
• June 4 — The first round of the tournament begins.
• June 5 — The second round of the tournament will be held.
• June 6 — The second Pro-Am begins with the same schedule as June 3’s Pro-Am.
For more information about participating, sponsorship and ticket sales, visit www.pattysheehanandfriends.com or call 857-4735.
Harry Spencer is a freelance writer in Reno. His column about the past and present of northern Nevada appears weekly in the Tribune.
Editor’s note: Opinions expressed in Harry Spencer’s column are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Tribune.