Indelible Impact

There are 14 million reasons why the Las Vegas Founders Club will never be forgotten. The Las Vegas Founders Club was a group of influential business leaders who worked together to bring the PGA TOUR back to the Las Vegas in 1982 and then worked to create the UNLV Golf Foundation and lure future Hall of Fame golf coach Dwaine Knight to UNLV. With deep appreciation, the UNLV men’s golf team thanks and honors the impact of the Las Vegas Founders Club.

“On behalf of the Las Vegas Founders Club and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, I would like to welcome you to the inaugural Las Vegas Pro-Celebrity Classic. We are proud that the PGA Tour, which has such a rich tradition in Las Vegas, is returning to our city, and we are especially pleased to be hosting the first million dollar tournament. We’ve ordered perfect weather for the week of September 12-18. With the world’s greatest golfers performing during the day and the world’s greatest entertainers performing at night, we know you’ll have a memorable week. Thank you for coming.”—Charles H. Ruthe, Tournament Chairman, 1983.

With those fateful words written in the official tournament program—which was featured within the pages of Las Vegan, the city magazine of note at the time–the public coming out party for the Las Vegas Founders Club was made official. And an organization that would do immeasurable good for a burgeoning city was born.

The original Las Vegas Founders Board of Trustees was made up of James Cashman, Jr., Jim Colbert, Bob Cole, Dick Etter, Ron Fogler, Gary R. Goodheart, Tom Hartley, Clair Haycock, Jerry Herbst, Herbert M. Jones, Fred Lewis, Scott Lyon, Ernie Martinelli, Irwin Molasky, Bill Morris, Frank Sain, General Zack Taylor, Charlie Teel, Bruce Trent, Harry Wald, and Tom Wiesner. Each was a key member of the Las Vegas community and committed to its future. But to a person, all would agree that Colbert was the key ingredient in the Founders recipe.

Tom Hartley, Original Trustee, Tournament Chairman 1987-88, and President 1991-92

Zach Taylor got me involved in the Las Vegas Founders. They needed a financial person so they wrestled me in which was easy to do because I was looking to network and make a difference in the community, and it was a great group of people to be involved with. But I met Jim Colbert and we got to know each other and we became best friends and subsequently I started working with his golf company and then I became his player/manager. And we are still real good friends to this day. But we wouldn’t have had the tournament here without him, we wouldn’t have had the format without him, basically we wouldn’t have had the Las Vegas Founders Club without him. The overall guidance he had was tremendous. He really helped promote the tournament with the players. He was an active player back then and he was on the policy board and he and Deane Beman were close. I remember early on, the tournament chairperson position was a one year term, but Colbert said, “Wait a minute we’re going to run out of people. Let’s go to two-year terms because we’re going to use some of our best people up too quickly.” He had tremendous insight and guidance because he had been involved with the PGA Tour all of his life.

For the next three decades, the members of the Las Vegas Founders Club would operate events on the PGA Tour, Senior PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, and American Junior Golf Association Tour, and help create a national championship men’s golf program at UNLV. The Founders also assisted in the formation of the UNLV Women’s golf team and operated both the men’s and women’s home tournaments for several years. Along the way, the group would pump around $14 million into Southern Nevada charitable organizations and help bring international awareness to Las Vegas.

That September week in Las Vegas in 1983 will live on in the annals of Las Vegas history as a seminal moment in many ways. For the PGA Tour, it was the first million-dollar tournament in its history. For Las Vegas, it was a week that brought international exposure through television and media coverage at a time when the city was on the precipice of going truly global, while cultivating a high-level and quality living community.

Amazingly, 208 pros and 832 amateurs criss-crossed the Las Vegas valley seeking the Vegas golf jackpot. The courses used during the rotation were Showboat Country Club, Dunes Country Club, Desert Inn Country Club, and the Las Vegas Country Club. A makeshift driving range was even constructed in the middle of the Las Vegas Strip, creating quite the site as golf balls rocketed above one of the most famous thoroughfares in the world.

The impact was immediate and enduring. And the foundation was laid for the PGA Tour to be a mainstay in Las Vegas for at least the next four decades. Visitor statistics from November 1983 showed a jump and hoteliers were thrilled with the success of year one.

Chuck Ruthe, Original Tournament Chairman and President 1987-88 (Circa 1983)

The Classic shows the rest of the world a new and different side of Las Vegas, shows that we can come together and put on something really first class. And I don’t need to tell the hotel, restaurant and casino owners what a boost it’s been for the local economy; they know themselves.

Ruthe (Circa 2003)

It was a long, maturing process. There have been a lot of people involved and we’ve had great sponsors. It took a while to build up the tournament. We got better dates along the way and that helped. The original event was in September and I remember it was 105 degrees. We had 1,040 golfers and played in fivesomes. We almost ran out of daylight. And we almost ran out of air … it was hot! … The first year Arnold Palmer graced us by playing in the tournament and that was a great way to kick off the event.

Jack Sheehan

I was heavily involved in that first year of the Pro-Celebrity Classic. My city magazine, Las Vegan, go the contract to produce the tournament program, and we devoted our entire September issue to the event.

I also played in the pro-am, and I can report that is was an organizational nightmare. With 832 amateurs spread over four courses, and an ambitious but inexperienced volunteer group, 95 percent of who had never worked at a golf tournament before, to call it a Chinese Fire Drill would be an insult to all Asians.

The major hotels had purchased blocks of amateur entries to be given to their highest rollers. Some of these invitees were only casual golfers, and not all of them brought their own clubs to Las Vegas.

Because many of these hotel guests had never played four days in a row, and nearly all of them were more interested in playing on the green felt tables than the green grass, cancellations and no-shows turned from a challenge to an epidemic by Saturday’s fourth round (the tournament was 90 holes in those years).

In the third round I remember I was paired with Dave Hill at the Showboat Country Club. When we got to the first tee, we were missing two of our scheduled amateurs, so Joe Kelly, the able director of golf at Showboat, and a good friend, pulled two of the volunteers into duty. So off we went, with two members of our group decked out in red-white-and-blue tournament uniforms, and Hill proceeding to slam down four beers by the time we reached the second green.

Dave was 48 years old at the time, and he explained that his nerves were so shot from his many years on the Tour that he just had to guzzle a couple Heinekens to get through the day. While my amateur teams had scored well the first two days, I was convinced this third round was heading for Armageddon. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Hill fired 66 that day. I somehow managed to make six birdies and an eagle on my own ball, and one of our drafter amateurs, who posed as a 22 handicap, holed a 2-iron on the seventh hole for an eagle, while getting two stroked off his score. I gladly marked down a net zero on the scorecard.

My motley crew managed to have the low team score of for the day our of 208 teams, and we were all given those neat bronzed slot machines that were the signature prize that first year.

As crazy as that initial year of the Tour’s return to Las Vegas had been, the crowds got an exciting finish, a perfect champion in Fuzzy Zoeller, and the assurance from the Tour that we had done well enough to ensure future events. And now the event celebrates 30 years in 2012, and it is still going strong.

Nearly 20 different hotels jumped in to help the cause of the Las Vegas Founders Club and the Las Vegas Convention Authority in the early years. The executives recognized the importance of both the tangible and intangible benefits of what professional golf in Las Vegas could mean.

Joe Kelly, Director of Golf, Showboat Country Club in 1983

I was pretty young at the time, a new director of golf and it was my first PGA Tour event. The biggest challenge that we had was the amount of players and amateurs that we had to work with. With so many pros and amateurs, the biggest issues we had logistically was moving all of the golf clubs around from course to course. I know the tournament sold out the amateur spots real easily because the hotels brought in their high rollers. But many of the customers weren’t, let’s say, real golfers. A lot of them were just there for the gambling, the parties and the running around at night. But the course operators at the four courses used in the rotation were responsible for getting each of the player’s clubs to where they were playing the next day. All of the bags had a tag on them and had the rotation, but what made it even more difficult was that the players weren’t going to the same course the next day.

Also, Lee Trevino was out at our course that first year playing and practicing, and I remember his caddie, Herman Mitchell, came into the pro shop and asked me where the nearest sports book was because he wanted to bet the college football games on that Saturday. Trevino and Herman were good guys who treated everybody well.

Charlie Baron, Tournament Manager

The tournament was created in 1983 for several reasons, and over the years all of the goals of the early visionaries were accomplished. One was to showcase Las Vegas in a positive way and reveal the quality of life here, and to do that through television, just like the Bob Hope Classic did for Palm Springs. The second objective was to have an event the hotels could participate in and invite their customers to be a part of an event that had worldwide exposure, and also allow them to interact and play with the Tour players. And the third objective was to give back to the community, to raise dollars for charity and help deserving causes.

And the traditions and foundation laid by the Las Vegas Founders Club continued when the Shriners organization took over operations of the tournament in 2007. While it was a shock to most that the Founders were asked to step away, the Shriners have worked to embrace the history of the event including creating special events to honor the 30th straight year of PGA Tour golf in Las Vegas in 2012.

While the core group leading the charge was the Founders, there was always a huge group of volunteers making the Founders’ plans possible. Each year, a thousand or so giving souls would serve in a variety of roles. The names are too many to mention, but some that stood out over the years include Del Walkenshaw, Sherry Corsello, Bill Olds, Jim Hart, Tony Gamez, Tom Hickey, Jeri Penna, Sue Smith, Mimi Rigg, KJ Howe, and Al Oliver.

James Cashman, Jr. Original President and Tournament Chairman 1991-92 (circa 2003)

A key to our success has probably been that we’ve had a lot hard work done by a lot of people. We hoped it would grow and it did. But it wasn’t without a lot of hard work. The volunteers are just great. We get the same folks year after year. We have about 1,000 or so and they are here for a week, 8-10 hours a day and they don’t get any pay for it. In fact they have to pay for their own uniforms. But they keep coming back and without them, it just wouldn’t get done. In the early years we did have trouble getting enough volunteers, but the Air Force was good enough to help us out. They did a helluva job in helping us get started.

KJ Howe, 2003 Volunteer of the Year and handicap chairman

I came here in 1970 after Vietnam and never left. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. My first job was working for Louis Prima at his Fairway to the Stars over on Warm Springs Road. I ran the pro shop. I was one of the original Founders members with Dick Etter, Jim Colbert, Tom Hartley, Chuck Ruthe, Jim Cashman, Tom Wiesner, Mike Corrigan … the guys who got it started. When Charlie Baron and Jim Cook took over the tournament I started volunteering. The realization that I was doing something for the community made me feel wonderful.

While the basis of the Las Vegas Founders Club and involvement in golf for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority was returning the PGA Tour to Las Vegas in 1983, the success of that event helped create opportunities to bring additional professional golf to Las Vegas. In 1986, the Senior PGA Tour played the inaugural Las Vegas Senior Classic at the Desert Inn Country Club, the former host course for the Tournament of Champions. Several of the players who competed in the Senior Classic also played in the Tournament of Champions, which at the time (1953) had golf’s richest first prize of $10,000.

In addition to coordinating all aspects of the Las Vegas PGA Tour event, the Las Vegas Founders Club was the organizational group behind the senior tournament. The Senior PGA Tour played in Las Vegas from 1986-2001 with such notables as Al Geiberger, Jim Colbert, Hale Irwin, Chi Chi Rodriguez, and Raymond Floyd claiming championships in the event. Colbert, the man behind the Founders, won the tournament in 1995 and 1996. In those years he was also the Senior PGA Tour Player of the Year.

Over the years, the tournament went by several names. For the first two years, the event was called the Las Vegas Senior Classic, but in 1988 General Tire became a main sponsor and the tournament was called the General Tire Las Vegas Classic for two years. The original name returned in 1990 and it remained as the Las Vegas Senior Classic until 1997 when it became known as the Las Vegas Senior Classic presented by TruGreen ChemLawn, which it remained as until 2001, the final year the tournament was played. The original name returned once again and Bruce Fleisher won that event that was played at TPC at The Canyons (since renamed TPC Las Vegas). Over the years it was played at the Desert Inn Country Club, and both of the PGA Tour’s TPC golf courses in Summerlin.

The Tournament of Champions was known for its glitz and glamour, and the pros were serious about the golf but nearly as serious about the action away from the course. The senior pros who hit Las Vegas annually for the Classic were a throwback to the years of the TOC, and weren’t afraid to play hard at all phases of the Las Vegas experience.

Jim Thorpe (circa 2000)

“I love craps! I mean I love craps! Basically what I do is play golf during the day and stay up all night playing craps. Then wake up, shoot, not even wake up, just grab a shower and head to the course. I played there a couple times when I never touched my bed. It’s just a town I love.”

The LPGA Tour has a long history in Las Vegas. In all the LPGA Tour competed in Las Vegas for 28 years, including from 1961-66, with the playing of the LPGA Championship, a major. The Las Vegas Founders Club operated an LPGA Tour event in Las Vegas from 1990-1993. The Desert Inn LPGA International was played at the Desert Inn Country Club for three years before moving for one year to the private Canyon Gate Country Club.

Eric Dutt, Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame Inductee and Former Founders Assistant Tournament Manager

In the early years professional golf tournaments included the Hollywood celebrity aspect with the Tournament of Champions and those celebrities, but that has been a mainstay for most of the professional golf tournaments in Las Vegas as well. I remember caddying for Chako Higuchi as a young teenager in the Sealy LPGA Classic at the Desert Inn, and she was paired with James Garner. He was just one of many who played golf that participated in professional tour events here in Las Vegas.

The Las Vegas Founders Club was also a huge supporter of amateur golf in Las Vegas. The group was the key influence in the hiring of Dwaine Knight as the UNLV golf coach in 1987, and for many years the group operated the team’s home event which blossomed into what is now known as “The Masters of College Golf” due to the strength of the field. Annually the tournament attracts the top golf teams and players in the country, and in some years the event has a deeper field than even the NCAA Golf Championships.

UNLV Head Golf Coach Dwaine Knight

We would not be where we are today had the Founders not had the courage to say, “We want to support this”, and they have remained a major factor with us ever since I have been here. We feel very fortunate to have had their support and a lot of our success goes directly to them. They have donated money, but the other thing they have done that was a huge help is get volunteers for us and the support staff to run, in the early days, the Rebel Classic and what turned into the Golf Digest Invitational and now the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters. Financially their support has been significant, but also their leadership and help with volunteers have been equally important to us.

The list of champions at UNLV’s home tournament reads like a leaderboard at a PGA Tour event. Just some of the names include DJ Trahan, Jeff Quinney, Troy Matteson, Ryan Moore, Camilo Villegas, and Dave Gossett. Matteson went on to win the 2006 Frys.com Open, becoming the first player to win both the Vegas collegiate and pro tournament.

Chris Riley, 4-Time UNLV All-American 1992-95, PGA Tour veteran

Our home event was always right after Thanksgiving so nobody was allowed to go home so we used to have Thanksgiving dinner at JT Higgins’ house. The whole team would set up shop there and it was just cool to get the team together Thanksgiving instead of family. It was just a different feel.

It was a cool tournament. In my freshman year, we played at Las Vegas Country Club and I played with David Duval and Stewart Cink, and Brian Gay was out there. It was a big tournament back then and I know now it is even bigger. Everybody loves to coming to Las Vegas so it’s a great place to have a tournament. Bob Tway would come out sometimes and watch his Oklahoma State Cowboys play and the word was that he liked to gamble so I remember thinking, “Wow this guy on the PGA Tour must be gambling a lot of money.” Those guys were the cream of the crop, and I was just a freshman that year. I knew I could hang with them but beating them was a whole different story. Duval beat me in the US Junior when I was 15 and he was 17, and he won the whole thing. They were always just a smidge better than me and that continued throughout professional golf. Brian Gay and I are similar, but Duval and Cink were always just a tad bit better than me and I never made up that ground in the pros.

Playing at UNLV was the time of my life for golf because all I did was go to class, played golf and went to dinner. And then you would do it all again the next day. The friends I made in college like Gilberto Morales, Mike Ruiz, Ed Fryatt, and Chad Campbell are lasting friendships that will always be.

The Founders Club also was a key player in the formation of the UNLV Women’s Golf team at UNLV in 2001. The group matched all funds raised by the new program, up to $60,000 annually, in the initial startup of the team. And in 2002, the inaugural Las Vegas Founders Women’s Collegiate Showdown was played at the team’s home course, Anthem Country Club. The University of New Mexico earned the first team title, while Kristi Larsen claimed the individual championship.

The Las Vegas Founders Club’s support of amateur golf was much deeper than collegiate golf. In addition to donating financially to the Southern Nevada Junior Golf Association, Southern Nevada Inner-City Youth Golf Association, and later The First Tee of Southern Nevada, the group operated one of the biggest tournament on the prestigious American Junior Golf Association schedule. Much like the roster of winners for the UNLV men’s home tournament, the list of champions from the Las Vegas Founders AJGA Las Vegas Classic is a who’s who of the PGA Tour and LPGA Tour. Some of the names include Trip Keuhne, Leta Lindley, Chris Riley, Chez Reavie, Stephanie Keever, Boyd Summerhayes, Cristie Kerr, Jennie Lee, and Candy Hannemann, among others.

Chris Riley

Winning the Las Vegas AJGA event in 1992 was kind of funny because I was 18 already and had signed with UNLV prior to the tournament. And I hadn’t played in too many AJGA events, maybe two or three. I knew it was a big deal. It was at the Legacy which was kind of new at the time. It was cool to win an AJGA event in Las Vegas where I was going to go to school. That was a long time ago but I remember Coach Knight and his assistant, JT Higgins, who is now at Texas A&M, were out there watching me. We stayed at the Excalibur and I remember thinking that Las Vegas was pretty cool, even before I had ever attended UNLV. It was a lot of fun.

At the helm as the tournament manager for the Las Vegas Founders Club for about 23 years was Charlie Baron who was responsible for making each of the tournaments run smoothly. Baron—and for a time his business partner Jim Cook–were the main cogs in the Founders wheel, and what many in the Founders like to remember about Baron is that he never wanted the limelight. When it came time to present a champion with a trophy, Baron made sure the trophy was in the correct place but then ducked into the background.

Charlie Baron, Tournament Manager 1984-2006

You’ve got to give a lot of credit to the guys Jim Colbert, Ron Fogler, Chuck Ruthe, Jim Cashman, Jr., Tom Hartley, Herb Jones, and Bob Cole. And then there were guys that came in and did special types of things, guys like Vince Fallon, Tito Tiberti, Mike Corrigan, Bob Kostelecki, Dick Etter, Ted Wiens, Dick Taggart, Jim Cashman III, Kenny Sullivan, Jack Sheehan, and Tom Cowan. And so many others that there is no way I can remember then all. All those guys had their responsibilities as the committees were formed. They all helped create a hospitality environment like only Vegas could put on, and it got the attention of a lot of people around the whole golf world, including PGA Tour commissioner Deane Beman.

I was trying to put all the pieces to the puzzle together. There were the day-to-day operations, but then there was the relationship with the tour, the relationship with the television network, the relationship with the sponsors, communicating to the community, and getting organizations involved, different charities and so forth. It was a puzzle just pulling that all together. It’s like managing a baseball team because there were so many different personalities, and there are so many different parts. It was exciting to do, to be a part of it because at that point in time professional golf tournaments were not being run by so-called management companies. They were being run by local clubs, whether it was the Kiwanis Club, or groups that got together like the Thunderbirds in Arizona, the Century Club in San Diego, or the Founders here. There weren’t outside sports management guys that came in from outside the community and did it. Jim Cook and I formed our little company, Championship Management, with the idea of being able to service the community. Instead of people that had an eight-to-five job and then came at night to try to put together a million dollar event, we tried to bring a little bit of a business approach to running it, and that started to happen across the board after we started it. Soon other communities followed by getting companies similar to ours involved.

But it was off the course where the Las Vegas Founders Club truly shined. From 1983-2011 (WHAT DATES TO USE?), the Las Vegas Founders Club contributed more than $14 million to worthwhile Southern Nevada organizations. That money was used to construct buildings to shelter the needy, purchase vehicles to transport the ill and others in need, and so much more. The group donated to a wide range of organizations, but the youth of Southern Nevada were always at the forefront. Major donations have been made to the Boys Scouts of America, the Lied Discovery Children’s Museum, the Children’s Services Guild of Southern Nevada, Junior League, YMCA Las Vegas, Natural History Museum, Las Vegas History Museum, D.A.R.E. Inc. of Las Vegas, Las Vegas Philharmonic, Boys Hope/Girls Hope of Nevada, Greater Las Vegas Inner-City Games, and others.

Chris Byrd, 1997-98 Tournament Chairman, 1999-00 President

I think that one of the things that often gets overlooked in all of this is that the children are the really the source of the strength of our community as we look to the future. Some of the programs that we have donated to in the past sometimes don’t get the recognition from other support sources, so it was important for us to lend a hand to those worthwhile groups. We like to feel that we have helped programs that are less publicized or less prominent in the community but are still quite needy programs that are beneficial to the youth of Southern Nevada. That was our goal in focusing on some children’s charities in Clark County and Southern Nevada. It also speaks volumes about our volunteers over the years because they are the ones that allowed us to make these contributions. The real credit goes to those volunteers; we did the planning and all of the strategizing, but without the volunteers to make it happen during the weeks of the tournaments, all that planning would have been for naught.

Linda Smith, President, Opportunity Village

We were in need of a new facility and we were talking about building a new campus and the Founders stepped up to the plate and made the first significant donation ($100,000 in 1990). Their donation was a catalyst for other donations to follow.

During one glorious year in 1987, key Founders members gathered at Spanish Trail Golf and Country Club to award hundreds of thousands of dollars to worthwhile causes. Among the recipients was HELP Center ($25,320), UNLV Golf ($50,000), WE CAN ($3,400), Home of the Good Shepherd ($12,000), Nevada Association of the Handicapped ($30,000), Boy Scouts Boulder Dam Area Council ($184,550), and Catholic Charity Services ($140,000). That one year is symbolic of the magnitude of the Founders contributions to the Southern Nevada community.

Mike Lubbe, President & CEO, YMCA of Southern Nevada

Established in 1944, the YMCA of Southern Nevada exists to strengthen community. By focusing on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, we have the opportunity to help individuals of every age and fitness level reach their potential. The Las Vegas Founders Club has been integral to our success, having been a strong supporter and friend of the Y for many years.

The Las Vegas Founders Club’s impact on the youth and families we serve is immeasurable, as thousands have been touched by their selfless acts of giving. The passenger vans they donated to our organization allowed us to provide safe, reliable transportation to at-risk kids who gained skills and confidence in Y summer camps, field trips and after-school activities. The monetary support they provided to our many youth programs, including youth sports, helped youngsters learn good sportsmanship while forming positive relationships with adult role models. The Founders Club helped make many of our annual YMCA Golf Tournaments reality. By donating course time, food and beverages, they gave our nonprofit the opportunity to offer exceptional golfing experiences while raising funds for our annual Strong Kids Campaign. Most recently, they made a significant contribution to help us expand our state-licensed preschool, an affordable program that incorporates the Y’s four core value of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility into every lesson.

At the Y, we work hand-in-hand with our neighbors every day to strengthen community. We are indebted to the Las Vegas Founders Club, as they’ve embraced our mission. In doing so, they’ve embraced untold numbers of youth who will be the leaders of tomorrow.

The impact of the Las Vegas Founders Club will never be forgotten. But even with the major impact the group of business leaders made over the year, they also found a way to enjoy the ride along the way.

Tim Cashman

I think the lasting legacy of the Las Vegas Founders Club will be the firm establishment of the game of golf here in Southern Nevada. At the time the tournament started you could count the number of golf courses in Southern Nevada on one or two hands, and today there are 10 times that amount or so. Part of that is the growth of the community but also by bringing professional golf here it really helped incubate golf’s development here and so much of what we have today with our golfing facilities was driven by the original goals of the Founders because golf became synonomous with the tourist economy in Southern Nevada. And that was really promoted by the Founders. The true lasting impact and legacy may or may not be bringing professional golf to Southern Nevada, but it clearly is the promotion of golf in Southern Nevada, and also the promotion of Southern Nevada in general, and the impact it had on the entire community.

When Harry Wald and the group came up with the million dollar tournament, as everybody knows, that was the first million-dollar tournament in professional golf and it really started the maturation of big money professional golf in this country. Granted somebody else would have done that somewhere along the line, but Las Vegas did it because Las Vegas as a community always does things big that promoted Las Vegas with a bang from the get go. It really put us on the map. Those initial tournaments really were a key to promoting golf and tourism in Southern Nevada.

James Cashman, Jr. (circa 2003)

There have been a lot of great memories. Ones that stand out have been the 59 by Chip Beck. Barron Hilton gave $1 million for that. He gave half to Beck and half to charity. And Tiger winning his first tournament in Las Vegas was quite a feather in our cap. We weathered the storms and made a difference. We accomplished everything we started out to do. We wanted to bring publicity and exposure to Las Vegas through a professional golf tournament and at the same time raise money for local charities. It’s been a great experience and a helluva a lot of fun …

Las Vegas Founders Club

Las Vegas Invitational Chairman

1983-84 Charles Ruthe

1985-86 Richard A. Etter

1987-88 Thomas Y. Hartley

1989-90 F.M. Corrigan

1991-92 James Cashman, Jr.

1993-94 James Cashman III

1995-96 Robert S. Cole

1997-98 Chris Byrd

1999-00 Kenny Sullivan

2001-02 Bob McCart

2003 Gary Frey

2004 John Sullivan

2005 Philippe Jaramillo

2006 James Duddleston

Presidents

1982-86 James Cashman, Jr.

1987-88 Charles Ruthe

1989-90 Richard A. Etter

1991-92 Thomas Y. Hartley

1993-94 F.M. Corrigan

1995 James Cashman IIII

1995-96 Thomas Y. Hartley

1997-98 Robert S. Cole

1999-00 Chris Byrd

2001-02 Kenny Sullivan, III

2003 Bob McCart

2004 Gary Frey

2005 John Sullivan

2006 Ken Gardner