By J. Thomas McNamara, Sports Editor
When you have covered an event for more than three decades each June, it hurts to see it come to an end. But this is it for the Forsyth Classic. Our history of Father’s Day championship golf for the best amateur women golfers in the world will end sometime Sunday. In recent weeks Irish Stew has opined why he feels this should not be happening, but it is, despite the efforts of many, including director Cindy Deadrick-Wolfer, who couldn’t have done anything more to salvage it.
The annual Symetra Tour’s Forsyth Classic, presented by the Decatur Park District, will end sometime late Sunday afternoon or early evening on the Hickory Point Golf Course when Deadrick-Wolfer presents the winner with her $30,000 check. She’ll also thank many, including the Classic’s sponsors who stayed with it through the years, for their dedication, their financial support, sacrifices and volunteering to keep it going as long as it has. She promises the 35th will be the best ever and no one should doubt her.
I certainly won’t because she has responded candidly and honestly to all my inquiries in recent weeks which I’m sure got old quickly. But she has shown class throughout this whole financial maze. She has dedicated so much of her time and energy to not only host this one, but futures ones as well. But the best of intentions, go awry, and that’s the case with the Forsyth Classic, which for some reason never caught on with the support that the Decatur Celebration receives. That’s hard to understand since the Classic brings in more out of town guests, i.e. the 144 golfers who arrive here to compete for a week and a $200,000 purse on the longest running tournament on the Symetra Tour.
These golfers spend an entire week here, play in the various pro-ams, stay with local families, those who don’t stay in our motels, eat at our restaurants with their families and friends, buy gasoline for their vehicles at our service stations, buy groceries at our grocery stores, et cetera. It’s not only the golfers, it’s their families, it’s their friends, Symetra tour officials themselves, who come to stay for the tournament and spend their money for food and services.
In my opinion, the economic impact of the Forsyth Classic on the Decatur area community is much greater than the Celebration when entertainers take their money out of this area, the vendors move on with their profits from the weekend, while the Classic invests its profits back into the community with its gifts to numerous charities here which conservatively is estimated at $500,000 for these years the tournament under various names has been competed. They will be competing for a record purse of $200,000 over 54 holes in a stroke play format with a cut to the low 60 players and ties after 36 holes. The winner’s share for the event is $30,000.
(Read complete story on the Forsyth Classic in this week’s print and online editions of the Decatur Tribune newspaper.)