PORTLAND, Maine – For the first time in more than two decades, the PGA Tour’s development tour is returning to Maine.
Starting in 2020, the Korn Ferry Tour will bring professional talent to Falmouth Country Club. The “Live and Work in Maine” Open, in partnership with Shamrock Sports Entertainment, will run from June 8-14. 156 players will compete for a $600,000 purse.
The last time a PGA event like this was held in Maine was in the early nineties.
“Portland is truly a remarkable locale for professional golf, and we are eager to bring the Live + Work in Maine Open to this community,” said Korn Ferry Tour President Alex Baldwin, who attended Bates College in Maine. “We have vibrant partners with great track records of building spectacular events and awareness for Maine, and we are confident that the golf fans throughout this region will enjoy watching the future stars of the PGA TOUR.”
The tournament will be managed by Portland-based Shamrock Sports & Entertainment, which delivers blue chip sports and entertainment properties with consulting, marketing and sales support to drive value and values to sponsors and fans alike. Shamrock’s client roster has included: NASCAR, NBA, Prince Harry’s Invictus Games, PBA, Rugged Maniac, FanBeat, America East Conference, Circuit of the Americas and Red Bull Air Race. In 2019, the agency launched Shamrock Signature focused on LIVE events and experiences such as Portland Pops as well as production of original programming such as Puckland on NBC Sports.
“This partnership reinforces Shamrock’s commitment to strengthen the regional economy by marketing Maine as a desired destination offering priceless experiences that fuel community purposes. We are encouraged by the healthy pipeline of Maine-based companies who plan to utilize this powerful platform to grow their businesses. We are confident the Live + Work in Maine Open will bring the contagious excitement of Korn Ferry Tour golf and related festivities to fans of all ages,” said Shamrock CEO Brian Corcoran.
A consortium of Maine employers is supporting the event under the umbrella brand of Live + Work in Maine – a state-wide initiative to market and promote Maine as a career destination. With an interest in using the international stage to promote Maine as a world-class destination for career opportunities, Live + Work in Maine will coordinate activities around the event for attendees to learn more about opportunities to live and work in Maine full-time, and engage with employers such as Maine Health, MEMIC, and others.
“Live and Work in Maine’s mission is to market Maine as a career destination, and we are pleased to be given the opportunity to be involved with a professional sports event that highlights the quality of life here in Maine,” said Ed McKersie, Chairman of the Board of Advisors at Live + Work in Maine. “Being asked by the employer community to lend our brand to this event validates our work and gives us all a unique platform to show the world that when it comes to quality of life and career opportunities, you can have the best of both by choosing to live and work in Maine.”
“We are excited about this new partnership with the PGA TOUR and look forward to working closely together to put on a first-class event. It is a fabulous opportunity to showcase Maine as the premier destination to Live, Work, Learn and Thrive,” said Guy Langevin of Dead River Company.
Founded and built in 1988, Falmouth Country Club’s Brian Silva design has earned a reputation as one of Maine’s premier competitive venues. Resident and CBS Sports commentator Peter Kostis has been associated with Falmouth Country Club since its inception, hosting the “Pepsi Skins Challenge” alongside names like Tom Kite, Davis Love III and Mark Calcavecchia. The course has hosted the New England Amateur, Maine Amateur and Tri-State Amateur, along with several other professional and amateur events.
“From the beginning, Falmouth Country Club has always held the game and the player in the highest regard. We’re excited to host these tremendous players and to bring the Korn Ferry Tour to one of the most beautiful parts of the world—the great state of Maine,” said Falmouth C.C. Director of Golf and Maine Golf Hall of Fame member Dick Harris, who was one of the original founders of the Club in 1988
The Korn Ferry Tour was founded in 1990 as the Ben Hogan Tour, with a four-year stint at nearby Woodlands Country Club as the Tour held the New England Classic through 1993. Current Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee won the inaugural event, with Tom Lehman and Stephen Ames among the future PGA TOUR stars to compete over the four-year stretch.
With 50 available PGA TOUR cards for the following season (since 2013), the Korn Ferry Tour is the path to the PGA TOUR. Twenty-five TOUR cards are reserved for the leading points earners at the end of the 24-event Regular Season. Another 25 are up for grabs at the three-event Korn Ferry Tour Finals that follow the Regular Season in August and September.
During the PGA TOUR’s 2018-19 season, five players from the Korn Ferry Tour’s Class of 2018 won titles, including Cameron Champ (Sanderson Farms Championship), Adam Long (The Desert Classic), Martin Trainer (Puerto Rico Open), Max Homa (Wells Fargo Championship) and Dylan Frittelli (John Deere Classic).
Other notable PGA TOUR players who got their start on the Korn Ferry Tour include major champions Justin Thomas, Jason Day, Bubba Watson and Zach Johnson.