In Memoriam: Robert “Doc” Graves
All of Arizona Golf is saddened to hear of the loss of Robert “Doc” Graves this past week.
Doc began his serious involvement with the AGA in 1985 as a partner with Bob Warren and Al Potts doing the “new” Course Ratings for Arizona. The team rated two hundred courses in less than one year.
Doc, an accomplished player in his own right, then took on the Rules of Golf and very quickly became an expert. For over 30 years he worked as a volunteer with the AGA, the SW Section PGA and the Junior Golf Association. He did everything from on-course setup to starting to rulings during play.
He was known and loved by all the players and staff at our host sites. I think his favorite position was starter because he could greet and joke with the entire tournament field. He also became known as “add-two DOC” because it seemed to the players that every time he approached them on the golf course, the result was “add 2” for a penalty. If a player arrived late for his starting time and Doc administered the necessary two-stroke penalty, the aggrieved player almost always apologized with an added “Thank You” for causing Doc to be disappointed by him.
All in all, Doc Graves was the ultimate volunteer whose dedication and service was unmatched. He served on the Board of Directors of the AGA, was an Emeritus Trustee for the Pacific Coast Golf Association, and worked innumerable other collegiate, amateur and professional events. He even spent time in Taiwan and Mexico rating golf courses.
The respect and appreciation of the organizations he has served has been recognized in many ways. He was the AGA’s Volunteer of the Year in 1992. Two AGA awards now hold his name: the Doc Graves Volunteer of the Year Award and the Doc Graves Mid-Amateur Trophy. He was presented with the prestigious Dr. Ed Updegraff Award, which is the highest honor that is presented by the AGA for his demonstration of the true “Spirit of the Game” in 1999 and was inducted into the Arizona Golf Hall of Fame in 2004.
Doc was truly concerned for everyone he met, a friend to all, and an exemplary model for all to emulate. We will miss his smile, his amazing sense of humor and his infectious laugh. We’re certain God has a special place for him in mind. We will miss him in more ways than can be described.
Waste Management Phoenix Open repeats as PGA TOUR Tournament of the Year; Phoenix-area TOUR stop also wins award for “Best Integrated Marketing Plan” in 2019
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA – The Waste Management Phoenix Open (Scottsdale, Arizona) was honored by the PGA TOUR at the TOUR’s Tournament Meetings on November 20.
For the second consecutive season, the Waste Management Phoenix Open was named the PGA TOUR “Tournament of the Year,” marking the fourth time (2014, 2015, 2018 and 2019) in the last six years the event has taken top honors. The Phoenix-area tournament also won the “Best Integrated Marketing” award for its engaging and creative year-round integrated marketing plan.
“On behalf of the PGA TOUR, I am thrilled to congratulate the Waste Management Phoenix Open on once again being named the ‘Tournament of the Year,’” said PGA TOUR Chief Tournaments and Competitions Officer Andy Pazder. “The Thunderbirds and title sponsor Waste Management continue to reach new heights each year with an unparalleled fan experience, seamless title sponsor integration and record charitable impact, all while continuing their mission as a zero-waste event.”
The 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open, won by Rickie Fowler, continued to reach new levels with its fan experience, marketing and social media strategy, and charitable impact. In recent years, the tournament has enhanced the overall experience for general admission holders, adding and expanding public venues along the closing stretch of holes at TPC Scottsdale, beginning with its famous coliseum-style 16th hole. As part of a sold-out, four-night concert series, more than 38,000 fans enjoyed 11 musical acts, with headliners including Old Dominion, Jake Owen, The Chainsmokers and Snoop Dogg.
Working closely with the PGA TOUR, Skratch and Golf Channel, the tournament reached new audiences with engaging content through the “Legends of the Green” campaign, celebrity influencers and an unforgettable moment shared between 2018 Waste Management Phoenix Open champion Gary Woodland and Special Olympics golfer Amy Bockerstette. More than 50 million people have since watched Amy, who has Down Syndrome, sink a par putt on the 16th hole during a practice round with Woodland, making it one of the most viewed Facebook videos in PGA TOUR history. The moment has been covered by all major sports and news outlets, and garnered new attention when Woodland won the 2019 U.S. Open and reunited with Amy on the TODAY Show.
“We’re extremely proud to be acknowledged by the PGA TOUR in back-to-back years and we want to say thank you to our fans, sponsors and the community for their commitment to our event,” said Chance Cozby, 2019 WM Phoenix Open Tournament Chairman. “The Thunderbirds could not achieve this success without the tireless effort of so many involved, starting with our title sponsor Waste Management. Our goal each year is to make the Waste Management Phoenix Open better than the last so we can continue to grow our charitable give to the Valley of the Sun.”
As the tournament continues to grow, so does the charitable impact. Proceeds from the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open generated a record $13.2 million for local charities, the highest single-year charitable donation in tournament history. Since Waste Management became title sponsor in 2010, the tournament has raised more than $81 million for local charities.
“Since Waste Management became title sponsor in 2010, we are proud of the positive impact the Waste Management Phoenix Open continues to bring to benefit the community and the environment,” said Jim Fish, President and CEO of Waste Management. “Together, with our partners The Thunderbirds, we strive to find new ways to improve one of the top sporting events in the world, and this recognition acknowledges our collaborative effort. We’re thrilled to be the title sponsor of this event for the next decade to come.”
The 2020 Waste Management Phoenix Open, won this year by Rickie Fowler, will be held January 27 – February 2 at TPC Scottsdale.
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