2016 marks the 15th year Mark Brazil has served as Tournament Director of the Wyndham Championship.
“We kind of call this the annual Triad Party of the Year,” he told me recently. “And if you love golf, then you’re set. But if you’re not a golfer, it’s kind of the place to see and be seen.”
And when the Wyndham Championship starts, Mark Brazil is “seen” all over the place making sure everyone’s happy: golfers, sponsors, spectators, the PGA and the media, just to name a few.
He also spends a lot of time trying to convince professional golfers to play here. It’s a skill he started developing after growing up in Asheville and attending Baylor University in Texas.
After college, he landed a job with the American Junior Golf Association where he accepted and rejected the applications of high school golfers to play in that organization’s tournaments.
“Our number one goal with the AJGA was to get kids into school, into college and have them scholar-shipped into college,” he said.
His work at the AJGA led him to become director of what was the Greater Greensboro Chrysler Classic in 2001, a time when professional golf was undergoing a big change because of one person: Tiger Woods.
“It became big business. Purses went through the roof,” he told me of Tiger’s dominance during that time. “Because here’s this guy who says hello to the world and he takes on the world and he just keeps winning.”
Brazil quickly realized in this new environment Greensboro’s tournament, which had been run very well over the years by the Greensboro Jaycees, needed to change.
“We needed to have a local board, regional board of power players, big hitters, big influence people who could take us to the next level,” Brazil said.
Brazil found that in Greensboro businessman Bobby Long. Long would become chairman of the Piedmont-Triad Charitable Foundation which—to this day—operates the tournament and donates more than a million-and-a-half dollars a year to local charities.
Brazil and Long also secured big “regional” sponsors—BB&T in Winston-Salem, Glen Raven of Burlington and North State of High Point to name a few. They turned it into not just a Greensboro event but a regional rallying point for economic development that has an economic impact of $30-$35 million a year.
For more information on the Wyndham Championship, click here.