2011 Children's Hospital Classic in 'right recipe'

2011 Children's Hospital Classic in 'right recipe'

October 11th, 2011 by David Uchiyama in Sportlocal

Miguel Carballo holds the trophy after winning the Children's Hospital Classic at the Black Creek Club on Sunday afternoon.

Photo by John Rawlston /Times Free Press.

The 2011 Children's Hospital Classic concluded Sunday at Black Creek Club with Miguel Carballo hoisting the trophy.

But volunteers, club employees and Friends of the Festival employees spent Monday taking down signs, washing and returning donated vehicles and returning the club to normalcy.

Tournament officials also were beginning preparations for the 2012 tournament.

"We've got the right recipe now," Friends of the Festival executive chairman Chip Baker said. "We have the right partner in Children's Hospital. We feel like we're on the right path."

There will be a tournament next year -- barring some unforeseen hangup -- which is something officials haven't always been able to say at the end of one tournament.

That's new and different. The Classic has been on life support after some previous finishes.

Two years ago, the tournament was in such jeopardy that the Nationwide Tour released its official schedule in January without the Chattanooga tournament listed -- just an open date in October.

"We've got a direction that we've been searching for for years," Baker said. "I can't say enough about our relationship with the PGA Tour. So operationally we are extremely sound. It's always been the financial aspect, and we've got a focus now and that's huge."

The 2012 date is penciled in for the same October week as this year's. But that could change between now and the time tournament officials and Nationwide Tour representatives sign the contract.

"I feel a lot more comfortable about next year than I have at the end of any other tournament," said Dr. Paul Apyan, the tournament director. "The tour likes it here and we like it here, and as long as we can keep our funding and our focus, we'll be here."

Tournament officials will have an internal meeting this week and in coming weeks will meet with past sponsors and potential future sponsors.

"We've got a lot of momentum, and it's important to capitalize on the momentum that we have," tournament chairman Mickey McCamish said. "If I lose any of it, then the next thing you know it's Thanksgiving and then Christmas."

It's like Christmas already, with the knowledge the tournament will be returning.

Contact David Uchiyama at duchiyama@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6484. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.