SBD/Issue 149/Sports Industrialists

Ron Cross Leaving The Players Championship For Augusta National

RON CROSS unexpectedly resigned yesterday as Exec Dir of The Players Championship to take the new position of Dir of Corporate Affairs at Augusta National. Cross is expected to manage the club’s existing corporate relationships and int’l initiatives to help grow the game of golf. Along with its traditional television partners -- IBM, ExxonMobil and AT&T -- Augusta National this year added int’l sponsorships with Rolex and Mercedes Benz and is shopping a financial services deal. Cross, a 19-year PGA Tour veteran, worked with Augusta National Chair BILLY PAYNE when both were involved with the Tour Championship. He will relocate from Jacksonville to Augusta and report to Exec Dir JIM ARMSTRONG starting June 1.

OTHER MOVES: As a result of Cross’ resignation, PGA Tour Chief of Operations HENRY HUGHES was appointed CEO of the The Players and will head the search for a new Exec Dir. The 60-year-old Hughes was a longtime director of The Players and the new job allows him to stay active with the Exec Committee and take his first step toward retirement. The resignation also put into place a succession plan that sources say was already in the works. Two executives believed to be internal candidates to replace PGA Tour Commissioner TIM FINCHEM added new positions or responsibilities. RICK GEORGE served as Champions Tour President and had oversight of the PGA Tour’s playoff and WGC events as Exec VP/Championship Management. He will become PGA Tour Chief of Operations, giving him PGA Tour management experience. PGA Tour Golf Course Properties President DAVID PILLSBURY takes over George’s oversight of Championship Management, providing tournament management experience. Champions Tour Senior VP & Chief of Operations MIKE STEVENS was promoted to Champions Tour President.

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