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Local News / Business

Wednesday, 23 July, 2008 7:59 PM

90th PGA Championship to Bring in $30-60 Million to the Metro Detroit Community

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

PGA of America CEO Joe Steranka addresses the Detroit Economic Club on July 21, 2008.

by Jason Rzucidlo
americajr@americajr.com

WATCH NOW:

Joe Steranka's Speech: Part Two MPEG Video

Question and Answer Session with Joe Steranka MPEG Video

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. -- Joe Steranka, the chief executive officer of The PGA of America, spoke to the Detroit Economic Club on Monday at the Oakland Hills Country Club. The CEO came to the venue that is set to host the 90th PGA Championship from August 4-10 in Bloomfield Hills. Steranka said that golf is a big driver of America's economy and that 50,000 jobs in the state of Michigan come from the sport alone.

Steranka was named CEO of The PGA in October 2005. He is only the second CEO in the history of the golf association, which dates back to 1916. He joined The PGA in 1988 as the managing director of communications and broadcasting. Steranka graduated from West Virginia University in 1979 with a Bachelor's degree in journalism. He started out in the marketing department at NBA's Washington Bullets. Two years later, he became the director of public relations for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

"Two million people put food on their table because of the golf industry," said Steranka. "We're a big driver of the economy. A solid job for a lot of people. We're a brand based on people. We've had a huge impact on tourism and home building. Resorts know you have to have golf."

The PGA Championship is being held in the Detroit area once again this August. The event will take place for the third time at the Oakland Hills Country Club. The country club has also hosted six U.S. Open competitions, two U.S. Senior Opens and a Ryder Cup competition in 2004.

The upcoming tournament will be seen by over 150 countries and territories reaching over 500 million homes. Golf is a $76 billion annual industry that raises more than $3.5 billion for charity each year, according to Steranka. The economic impact of the golf industry grew by 14 billion dollars per year from 2000 to 2005.

"The project started around June 1," said the CEO of the upcoming tournament in Bloomfield Hills. "Charter One, American Express and GM purchase half of the ad inventory. To see the level of corporate support is extraordinary. We don't take it for granted. Still a good turnout at the Buick."

Many people wondered about the status of Tiger Woods. Steranka said that he will not be coming to Oakland Hills this year. Without Woods, there was a huge decline in ticket sales for the Buick Open which took place last June in Grand Blanc. There was man empty seats visible during the event's broadcast on television.

"We've had a lot of great personalities," said Steranka. "His surgery was successful. He'll start playing early next year. We're less affected for a major. The absence is gonna be felt. You'll see good stories come to the forefront. Top American players emerge. You had some guys who had to step up and perform. Our focus is on the 27 million who play the game."

Daily tickets are still available for The PGA Championship at Oakland Hills Country Club. The $3,000 level tickets have already been sold out. Less people are purchasing tickets far in advance now.

"We can always handle a couple more," said Steranka, referring to ticket sales. "There's a big push after the British Open. Pre-booking is way down."

The PGA CEO said that there are 16,000 golf courses nationwide and that Michigan has more public golf courses than any other state in the nation.

"It’s courses like Oakland Hills, it’s the people that they employ," he said. "It is the people they serve, it’s the food they serve, the shirts that Pat sells in the golf shop, the outings that they have, the membership dues that are paid – all of that rolls up into 28 billion dollars a year."

Detroit has hosted several major sporting events in the past few years including the Super Bowl, The MLB All-Star Game and the Ryder Cup in 2004.

"I heard ESPN was up here," the CEO said when referring to the Motor City being selected as one of the cities nominated for the TitleTown award. "We're very proud that The PGA is a part of that group. A great sports town."


PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

The PGA CEO responds to a question at the Detroit Economic Club.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

About 200 people attended the special meeting which was held at the Oakland Hills Country Club.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

The presiding officer of the meeting was Sandra Pierce, President and CEO of Charter One Bank, Michigan and Indiana.

 

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