Asahi Ryokuken International Championship officials are doing their part to get youngsters to attend the upcomingLPGA event at Mount Vintage Plantation Golf Club.
During a Tuesday morning ceremony at the Radisson Riverfront Hotel Augusta, tournament chairman Bettis Rainsford presented Terry Nelson with 25,000 "kids free" passes.
The "kids free" pass allows children 15 and under into the tournament at no cost when accompanied by an adult with a ticket. This policy was established by the LPGA in 1999.
Nelson, executive director of the CSRA Regional Educational Service Agency, will distribute the tickets to the school systems of 12 area counties, including Richmond, Columbia, Burke, McDuffie and Lincoln counties.
"We want to get them out in an equitable manner to all the students in the CSRA," Nelson said. "There are so many activities that kids are involved in nowadays. Some of them deal with trips, but most have an educational meaning to them. But with an activity of this magnitude, certainly we want to get as many kids out as possible. It is certainly a worthwhile activity."
Also attending the ceremony were Augusta Mayor Bob Young and Georgia schools Superintendent Linda Schrenko.
"The LPGA has been a forerunner in showing that girls can be winners," Schrenko said.
"The 'kids free' policy has existed in all the LPGA tournaments, but in many cases the message really hasn't gotten out," Rainsford said. "This little ticket pass that we have developed is our way of informing each student that, yes indeed, they can come for free.
"We wanted to make sure that all the school children in the area actually get these tickets in their hands," Rainsford said.
One problem remains for the children.
"The real challenge, of course, is getting the kids out of school," Nelson said.
The event will be Sept. 17-23.
CELEBRITY PRO-AM: There will be a Friday press conference regarding further details of Augusta Mayor Bob Young's Celebrity Pro-Am Tournament on Sept. 19 at Mount Vintage.
Confirmed celebrities playing in the tournament include Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Willie Mays, pop singers Michael Bolton and Edwin McCain, and television journalists Susan Spencer (48 Hours) and Shepard Smith (Fox News). Tournament officials are in talks with four soap stars from CBS and three from NBC.
Reach Chris Gay at (706) 868-1222 or firstname.lastname@example.org.