The Kraft Nabisco Championship (www.KNCGolf.com) kicked off its 40th anniversary campaign at a luncheon yesterday for more than 200 people at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif., the host club for all four decades of the LPGA tournament. The 2011 Kraft Nabisco Championship is scheduled for March 28 through April 3.
Gabe Codding, recently promoted to the position of tournament director, and new Tournament Chairman David Blake-Thomas announced a major new program with the Screen Actors Guild Foundation (www.sagfoundation.org), the non-profit organization affiliated with the Screen Actors Guild. According to Blake-Thomas and Codding, Kraft Nabisco and the SAG Foundation will team up this year to support the foundation's Children's Literacy Initiative. The nationwide literacy program contributes to the advancement of literacy in communities across the country.
The SAG Foundation and the Kraft Nabisco Championship will also join forces to bring more than 50 celebrities to the Kraft Nabisco's two-day Celebrity Pro-Am during Tournament Week on Tuesday, March 29, and Wednesday, March 30. Although the Pro-Am will remain a two-day event, celebrities will be offered the choice of playing for one day or two, offering them greater scheduling flexibility.
Pro-Am participants will enjoy awards parties on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings featuring musical entertainment and a buffet dinner with celebrities and LPGA pros. The week kicks off with a pairings party on Monday, March 28, with a buffet dinner, LPGA pros and musical entertainment.
"We are thrilled about our new partnership with the SAG Foundation and the additional excitement and star power it will bring to the Kraft Nabisco Championship," Codding said. "Our goal for the past few years has been to evolve the Celebrity Pro-Am from its original role as corporate entertainment to that of an expanded community event. We believe the SAG Foundation will allow us to build an even stronger charitable and community-oriented focus for the tournament."
In addition to the new Celebrity Pro-Am and SAG Foundation initiative, the Kraft Nabisco Championship launched the tournament's Integrated Wealth Management TICKETS Fore CHARITY program for 2011. The ticket program, which debuted last year, raised more than $150,000 for 90 desert area charities.
"The goal is to keep growing the event - including the number of fans in attendance," Codding said. "We were very pleased with the ticket sales for TICKETS Fore CHARITY in our inaugural year, but we want to continue to grow attendance as well. Our vision is to fully engage the community in one of the biggest events of the year in the desert and on the LPGA Tour."
Codding said that the Kraft Nabisco Championship's longstanding hole-in-one contest is also being revamped to have a stronger LPGA and charitable component. Details on the new hole-in-one event, which will be held during Tournament Week, will be announced later this year, Codding said.
Tickets for the Integrated Wealth Management TICKETS Fore CHARITY program and playing spots in the Celebrity Pro-Am will be available online at www.KNCGolf.com starting Oct. 15.