Ron Romain could not have been more pleased on the first day of July.
He and guests were watching the Web.com Tour’s United Leasing Championship at Victoria National roll to an extremely exciting finish, which turned into playoff time for the inaugural event. Romain’s company, United Leasing Inc., was the title sponsor for the Web.com Tour event at Victoria National Golf Club in Newburgh, Ind., and he thought there was a strong reach from the tournament in the Evansville area. That is extremely positive for the region, considering the Web.com Tour will be returning next year for the second round of a three-year contract with the golf course.
“Not knowing exactly what this was going to look and feel like, we obviously learned a whole lot,” Romain says. “The community energy is one of the other things that we really noticed. I was over at the volunteer tent one morning, and it was an energized place. Several of them said, ‘I’ve never worked harder in my life, and had more fun,’ so that’s the exciting thing about doing this; the community has really gotten behind it.”
Initially, notable business people in town didn’t understand what the tournament really meant for the area — and for business. Seeing the success of this first year, says Romain, several people already are saying there’s no way they’re missing out on it next year. That could mean more corporate presence at the course, much like the very nice, spacious and air-conditioned viewing box that United Leasing had built along the approach to the 18th green.
More players on the Web.com tour, or those looking to sharpen their game from the PGA Tour, could also be attracted to the event at Victoria National. The unique course could easily become one of the signature stops on the Web.com Tour, according to players and professional observers who talked to media during the week.
“Many of the players have made a point to say, without fail, what a great golf course this is,” Romain says. “It is one of the very best they play on the (Web.com) Tour, and they’re sincere about it. Lee Janzen, Duffy Waldorf, Charles Warren, Robert Gamez, these are guys who have played a lot of golf — they’ve played on some of the best (courses) in the world — and they’re very complimentary about it.”
United Leasing, Victoria National, and the Evansville area all benefited from the exposure that the tournament provided during Golf Channel coverage, and through media outlets in the Evansville market. There were constant commercials on the Golf Channel espousing the lifestyle in Southwest Indiana, and what a great corporate destination Victoria can be.
There also was a significant charity aspect to the tournament. Youth First, for which Romain has been a longtime supporter, was the main benefactor among several charities in the Tri-State.
There were seven-plus hours of Golf Channel coverage, and an estimated 12,000–14,000 people attended the event during the week. Romain was pleased that Evansville could embrace a national event, while he also was looking to extend his company’s name recognition on a truly international scale.
“We were hoping to gain some national brand exposure,” Romain says. “But the other reason I wanted to do this was to demonstrate to Evansville that I thought we could do something like this. If nothing else, we’ve proven to ourselves that we can do these kinds of events.”
For more information and 2013 tournament dates, visit www.unitedleasingchampionship.com.