By Sam Knehans, Communications & Sports Information InternKANSAS CITY, Mo. – The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has announced that the 2016 and 2017 NAIA Men’s Golf National Championships will be hosted by Saint Ambrose University (Iowa) in conjunction with the Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau. The 72-hole championship will be played at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill., on May 24-27, 2016, with the 2017 championship taking place May 16-19.
“Bringing the Men’s Golf National Championships back to the Quad Cities will ensure that all student-athletes have a memorable championship experience,” said Jim Carr, NAIA President and CEO. “Saint Ambrose University and the Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau are proven hosts and we are confident they will provide a wonderful environment for all involved."
The state of Illinois has welcomed the men’s golf national championships on six prior occasions, with the three most recent events occurring at TPC Deere Run in 2009, 2010 and 2011. The championships have since been held at the Creekside Golf Club in Salem, Ore., in 2012 and 2013 and will be held at the LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla., in 2014 and 2015 before returning to the Quad Cities.
TPC Deere Run, a member of the Tournament Players Club network of courses operated by the PGA Tour, was featured as one of America’s 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses by Golf Digest. In addition to the NAIA National Championships, TPC Deere Run hosts the annual John Deere Classic—a PGA Tour event that occurs the week before the British Open. Recent winners include: Jordan Spieth (2013), Zach Johnson (2012) and Steve Stricker (2011, 2010, 2009).“The Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau is proud to partner with Saint Ambrose to bring back the NAIA Men’s Golf National Championships in 2016 & 2017," said Lynn Hunt, Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau Vice President for Sales. "We have enjoyed hosting this prestigious event in the past, and are excited to have the NAIA return. TPC Deere Run is an outstanding, competitive venue, where the NAIA athletes can play like the pros.”
Saint Ambrose is an NAIA school, located in Davenport, Iowa, that competes in the Midwest Collegiate Conference and the Mid-States Football Association. The school currently sponsors 23 varsity athletic programs, including men’s golf.
The Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau is responsible for the marketing and promotion of the Quad Cities area as a tourism destination. The organization serves the tourism interests of Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa; Moline, East Moline and Rock Island in Illinois; and the surrounding communities.
The CVB maintains a staff of 12 full-time marketing and administration professionals, but relies on many other part-time visitor counselors, support staff and volunteers when major events come to town.
"Our golf community and the Iowa PGA step up and participate by providing dedicated, friendly volunteers to make our championships a success for all,” Hunt said. “Local media and golf fans love to have the NAIA Men’s Golf National Championships in town, and we strive to make sure that enthusiasm is delivered to the competition each day.”
The NAIA has sponsored men’s golf since 1952, when its inaugural championship in the sport was held at the Abilene Country Club in Abilene, Texas. Oklahoma City, which won its second-consecutive team title in 2013, leads the NAIA with nine national championships overall. Currently, 180 institutions sponsor the sport of men’s golf. For a complete list of participating schools, click here.
Since 1937, the NAIA has administered programs and championships in proper balance with the overall educational experience. In 2000, the NAIA reaffirmed its purpose to enhance the character-building aspects of sport. Through the Champions of Character program, the NAIA seeks to create an environment in which every student-athlete, coach, official and spectator is committed to the true spirit of competition through five core values: integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership.