Inside Events: Dustin Johnson World Junior Golf Championship
21 Mar, 2018By: Mary Helen Sprecher
An Interview with Scott Tomasello, Tournament Director
The third annual Dustin Johnson World Junior Golf Championship has the goal of attracting an international field comprised of some of the game’s best junior golfers. The most recent of these international events featured 90 players from around the world and was played at TPC Myrtle Beach February 23-25, 2018.
With the support of Johnson, the #1 player in the world, the tournament provides participants a PGA Tour-like experience, and the chance to test themselves against premier players from across the globe.
TPC Myrtle Beach, which was home to the Senior PGA Tour Championship, was built with the idea of hosting Tour-level events, and Dustin Johnson World Junior Championship participants will be the beneficiaries. From names on their lockers to placards on the range and live scoring throughout the property, the tournament will provide players an experience similar to those adult Tour players enjoy
The February date, which takes advantage of Myrtle Beach’s sub-tropical climate, gives juniors a chance to jump-start their season at one of the best events on the calendar.
Sports Destination Management: This event has been growing in prominence each year. How many have been offered?
Scott Tomasello: This is our third year.
SDM: What age were the competitors? Was it a co-ed tournament?
Tomasello: Yes, it was co-ed. The competitors ranged in age from 13 to 18.
SDM: What was the division of athletes, in terms of gender?
Tomasello: We had a total of 66 boys and 24 girls.
SDM: Were they mainly from the Southeastern portion of the U.S.?
Tomasello: No, in fact, they came from 19 states and six countries.
SDM: In general, youth athletes travel with their families. Do you have any statistics on how many people attended with the kids, and also as spectators?
Tomasello: An average of two parents per player attended, so that’s 90 athletes plus two parents each – on average; we certainly had exceptions to that – so that would be 270 people. We also had about 20 college coaches in attendance.
SDM: What was the economic impact of the event?
Tomasello: We’re still working on those figures but we expect to have them.
SDM: TPC Myrtle Beach hosted the event. How did you come to choose that course?
Tomasello: Dustin Johnson has a long-standing relationship with TPC and the course is suited for play of this caliber.
SDM: Is choosing courses for juniors events different from choosing courses for adults?
Tomasello: Yes, since playability is a factor. Among the things you consider with a juniors event are distance, tees, course difficulty and walkability. There are many other items too, of course.
SDM: What else does the area offer for kids and families to do?
Tomasello: It’s a great area for families. There’s plenty of shopping, 60 miles of beaches, great food options – specifically seafood – and of course plenty of family-friendly activities like putt-putt courses and go-kart tracks.
SDM: Any idea on the average stay – as in, did people just come for the tournament, or did they build a vacation in as well?
Tomasello: We saw a four-night stay per family on average.
SDM: Will you return to Myrtle Beach next year?
Tomasello: Yes, absolutely.
SDM: What do you think an event owner who has a juniors golf event should be looking for in a venue?
Tomasello: If you’re planning a juniors event, you should always look for a staff that meets or exceeds the caliber of event you'd like to host. For an elite event, you need a staff that is personable, hard-working and dependent. It's important to take pride in your work and showcase your property to the best of your ability. TPC Myrtle Beach offered us all that and more.
SDM: What do you think makes this particular event special and unique?
Tomasello: We have great sponsors that make this event possible. Dustin Johnson, Founders Group International, Golf Tourism Solutions and all others involved are here to grow the game of golf, specifically for those at a young age. Dustin personally sees to it the event goes off without a hitch and is invested in giving back to the state in which he grew up.
SDM: If someone is interested in learning more about the event, how can they do so?
Tomasello: They can go to our website or call843-282-2647.