Toledo Classic Inc. announced on Tuesday that Marathon Petroleum will become the title sponsor of the annual LPGA golf tournament that has been known as the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic since 1983.
When Judd Silverman endeavored to bring a golf tournament to northwest Ohio in the early 1980’s he knew he needed a big name to get the LPGA to take his proposal seriously.
Through a local connection Silverman was able to bring Toledo native and television celebrity, Jamie Farr onboard as tournament host.
Farr enjoyed a successful acting career as Corporal Max Clinger, the dress wearing company clerk on the mega-hit M*A*S*H. Dinah Shore had just gotten Jamie to begin playing the game of golf and he had become hooked on the game. Farr accepted the challenge as tournament host and began a love affair with Toledo area golf fans.
He became the face of the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic and annually traveled back to Toledo from his home in California to attend events and host the golf tournament.
Just like the old celebrity hosted PGA tournaments from years past; Bob Hope, Sammy Davis Jr., Andy Williams, Glenn Campbell, and even Bing Crosby gave way to golf tournaments with corporate names.
The economics of the times dictate that tournament directors find corporations with deep pockets that can guarantee the huge purses necessary to draw the top players to their event and also bring television coverage that can reach millions of fans around the world.
Jamie Farr has provided more than anyone could have expected over the years as the Toledo Classic host. He has been gracious with his time and a pleasure to work with.
In Farr’s statement released yesterday, “Because of pending show business concerns which may prevent me from hosting the tournament in the future, I have decided to pass the baton to Marathon.’
He continued, “I am proud to be one of the founders of this tournament and am very proud of everything the tournament has accomplished over the past 28 years. I will always appreciate the loyal and generous support of our faithful sponsors, volunteers, fans, media and LPGA golf professionals and I extend a special thanks to all of them. The tournament has become a wonderful tradition in Northwest Ohio and I know it will continue to do great things for the community and local children’s charities. Please extend to Marathon your generous support which you so devotedly gave to me.”
Toledo Classic Board Chairman Richard Hylant expressed the board’s appreciation, “On behalf of the Board of Trustees of Toledo Classic, Inc. we want to express our deep appreciation and gratitude to Jamie for everything he has done over the years,”
He went on to add, “Jamie’s contributions and loyal support over the past 28 years cannot be overstated as the tournament and the community have been affected immeasurably by his involvement. With great enthusiasm and as a reflection of everything that Jamie has meant to the tournament and the community, Toledo Classic Inc. has permanently named the scholarship fund the “Jamie Farr Scholarship Fund” to preserve Jamie’s legacy with the tournament.”
The main focus of the annual golf tournament has been its contribution to Toledo area children’s charities. The 2012 Jamie Farr Toledo Classic was able to generate $300,000 for this purpose and with Marathon coming in as the title sponsor future charitable donations are expected to increase.
The contribution that Mr. Farr has made to the Toledo area through his work with the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic is immense.
Toledo area business, as well as, golf fans will be forever in his debt.