Q & A: With 2016 Boeing Classic Tournament Director Michelle DeLancy

2015 Boeing Classic Champion Billy Andrade with Tournament Director Michelle DeLancy (Photos by Patrick Hagerty)

The Boeing Classic is venturing into its 12th year yet it seems as though it has been around twice as long.  How did the Boeing Classic get to be so big and so organized in such a short amount of time?  

It’s been a fun and quick 12 years! We are very fortunate to have the best title sponsor on any TOUR. With Boeing’s involvement, they have opened the doors to many opportunities for the tournament. We have received great support since day one from the community and its leaders, as well as local and national partners and many many volunteers. Without all of them we wouldn’t be where we are today.

2015 Boeing Classic Champion Billy Andrade with Tournament Director Michelle DeLancy (Photos by Patrick Hagerty)
2015 Boeing Classic Champion Billy Andrade with Tournament Director Michelle DeLancy (Photos by Patrick Hagerty)

You have always, and rightfully so, given accolades to the volunteers.  For people who have never volunteered but might be toying with the idea, what would make for a good candidate?

We would not be able to pull off a Tournament of this caliber without our Volunteers. They truly are an integral part of our success.  An ideal volunteer candidate is someone that has the time in their schedule to cover two shifts on two different days during tournament week, and that is open to a multitude of roles.  For some jobs, you do not need to know the game of golf, other positions, do require knowledge of the game.  We can accommodate all levels. We want them to be prepared to have a good time while getting to know many different people, rubbing elbows with the players and feel like they are giving back. Each volunteer pays to volunteer so the tournament can raise as much funds for the tournament beneficiary The Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason.

The field of players is always amazing as is their skill set.  John Daly is the most recent player to commit.  What other gentlemen are going to compete in the 2016 Boeing Classic?  

In addition to John Daly, we recently announced Bernhard Langer, and look forward to familiar faces that have played in the Boeing Classic for years including Jeff Sluman, Fred Funk and John Cook to name a few. Players look forward to returning to the Boeing Classic each year and we will continue to announce new players and list the full field of 81 players at the end of July.

Fast forward 20 years from now.  Who on the current PGA tour would be a favorite for the local fan base?  

I would like to say Jordan Spieth, but he won’t even be 50 in 20 years! There are a great group of guys on the PGA TOUR now that will be fan favorites joining the PGA TOUR Champions in 20 years. Ryan Moore as the Washington native as well as Bubba Watson, Bill Hass, Adam Scott and Jason Day will be eligible and will keep the excitement of the PGA TOUR Champions going for many years to come.

The week of festivities kicks off with Rumble on the Ridge.  The list of professional athletes is pretty amazing.  What have past participants raved about for this event?  

We are very fortunate to have such a great roster year after year for the Rumble.   It’s a great day for sports legends and local celebrities to come out and play a friendly game of golf.  The players’ favorite part is the many activities throughout the day including a pep talk from Coach Carroll the evening prior, fans, and Sea Gals cheering them on throughout the day and playing the course set up for the PGA TOUR Champions players. The event has become one that these players look forward to playing in and getting reunited with their buddies every Summer.

The Adaptive Golf Clinic is a newer feature.  How did that get started and how does one get involved?  

The Adaptive Client has been around for almost as long as the Tournament, I think its just getting noticed as more participants get involved, which is great exposure for an incredible cause.  Through our partnership with Virginia Mason, American Lakes Veteran golf course and local PGA teaching professionals, the adaptive clinic endeavors to bring the game of golf to those with disabilities. The “First Swing” program encourages golf as an excellent recreational and rehabilitation medium. If you have a disability that has prevented you from playing golf, whether is an amputation, stroke, MS,  Parkinson’s Disease, arthritis, back pain or anything else that has held you back,  this will be the day to learn adaptive techniques and be introduced to adaptive equipment from both therapists and golf teaching pros.

The Executive Women’s Day is back for the 4th year!  The ability to make new friends and network is great for anyone—and the venue is a feast for the eyes.  Who will serve as the keynote speaker this year?  

We are honored to have Congresswoman Suzan DelBene, a long time Washington resident, University of Washington MBA graduate and past Microsoft team member.  Ms. DelBene will share with the 150 members of the audience about her experience as an Executive, a Congresswoman, and the balance of life and work as a wife and mother.

Images from the Second Round of the Boeing Classic Saturday, August 23, 2014, at the TPC Snoqualmie Ridge in Snoqualmie, WA. (Photos by Patrick Hagerty)
(Photo by Patrick Hagerty)

The final day of play, Sunday August 28th, is Military Appreciation Day.  What can military men, women, and their families look forward to beyond free admission?  

We partner with the local USO and offer complimentary lunch and beverages in our Patriots Outpost for all active, retired and reserve Military, which is located overlooking the 18th green.  Additionally, we will have members of the Military tend the American flag on the 18th green and announce the golfers on the first tee. Fifteen hundred American flags will dress the course on Sunday and fans are encouraged to wear their red, white and blue.

Both small and large charities benefit from Boeing Classic’s success.  What charities are on the receiving end of this year’s event?  

We are proud to have donated over $6 million dollars in the last 11 years to local charities. Our main beneficiary is the Benaroya Research Institute (BRI) at Virginia Mason. BRI is an international leader in autoimmune disease research and one of the few institutes dedicated to finding causes and cures to eliminate autoimmune diseases. We also support The First Tee of Greater Seattle, who provides young people learning facilities and educational programs that promote character-development and life-enhancing values through the game of golf.  Through our Seahawks partnership, we give back to Pete Carroll’s A Better Seattle, which works to reduce and prevent youth and gang violence in the greater Seattle area.

Golf enthusiast might not think a senior’s tournament would be thrilling for children, but the Boeing Classic team has in fact made the tournament family friendly.  What can kids look forward to this year?  

We have had such a great response from kids and parents alike that we created a “Family Day”, which is on Saturday, August 27th.  Family day takes place in the event tent on the hill overlooking the 18th green from 10:00am – 1:00pm (we tried to schedule it early enough to allow time for afternoon naps!). Kids of all ages will enjoy face painting, putting tips from the First Tee, ice cream and visits from some of their favorite local sports mascots.

Food and drink are a big part of great events.  What is an offer for kids and adults?

Big kids and little kids love hot dogs, hamburgers and fish and chips! Our friends at Ivar’s offer a great selection of food at the 19th hole located next to the 10th tee. Beer and liquor specials, Washington wines, ice cream and healthy food selections are also available around the course. Adult’s won’t want to miss the beer garden on the 13th green and  Birdies for Beer in the Alaska Airlines Canyon Club on the 14th green.  If a PGA TOUR Champion Professional makes a birdie, you get half-off beers!

Thank you.

*Interview conducted by Kelly Handley

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