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State Officials Extol Benefits of PGA Championship in New York


The 95th PGA Championship, which starts Thursday at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, will provide a significant economic boost for the local and state economies in New York, an effect that was praised by lawmakers on Tuesday.

The officials, led by New York Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy and U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, reviewed a video presentation at Oak Hill that outlines golf's national economic impact of $68.8 billion, the creation of 2 million jobs and an annual charitable donation total of $3.9 billion.

Duffy is a native of Rochester, and Reed, among other duties, is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee. Duffy was not surprised when learning of the PGA Championship's $78 million estimated economic impact upon Greater Rochester, and the creation of 1,100 jobs.

"There was due diligence in arriving at that figure, and I believe that is fair and it may be a bit more," said Duffy. "You look at the 200,000 to 250,000 coming into Rochester to going to the championship. Even before the championship, you had scores of people going down the street and buying merchandise and following the players.

"There are so many different aspects to the effect of a PGA Championship. It is not just shared among a few. It spreads to untold numbers in the community. Even driving to Oak Hill, you find families in neighborhoods near the course parking cars in their front yards. I think that between $75 and 80 million is very much in the ballpark."

Duffy said that "this is a time for Rochester to shine. Rochester often sees itself as a glass half-empty. It's really getting filled up. There are so many things to be proud of and show off. We sometimes focus on the bad things and so many good things go on every day. It's a good time for this area to shine."

Duffy said that he plays golf only once a year, but wants to devote more time to the game later in his career. "I am not a very good golfer; I am a golf fan," he said. "I do appreciate the business part of golf, if you look at what it brings. Aside from jobs and businesses, and money and merchandise, this course could be filled with site selectors from companies from around the world for the whole weekend. You see all the chalets where people are looking to bring companies to a certain area for business. We are going to be very aggressive promoting New York State."

Congressman Reed said that he was "especially excited about the jobs and the resources that golf attracts, and the PGA Championship's presence in New York State."

PGA of America president Ted Bishop reported to the lawmaker-dominated audience about one vignette that leaves another social imprint in Greater Rochester. "We are proud of having a partnership between PGA of America Spouses and the PGA Tour Wives Association that resulted in a Habitat for Humanity Build," said Bishop.

"There are those who may say that this is cosmetic, but that could not be any further from the truth." Bishop worked alongside volunteers in June and will return Wednesday to a ribbon-cutting ceremony on the build site for the Galetti family at 170 Whitney Street in Rochester's JOSANA neighborhood.

During a PGA Sports Academy Youth Clinic Monday, Bishop said, eight-year-old Elisha Galetti came up and surprised him by hugging him at his pant leg. "This young boy had never held a golf club until this summer. He will be receiving a set of golf clubs this week. The appreciation you sensed and what that family underwent and sacrificed already is enormous. It is great to see that the championship will leave its own legacy beyond this week of outstanding golf."

The above report is courtesy of the PGA of America. For more information, visit www.pga.com.