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Volume 24 No. 181

People and Pop Culture

Augusta National Golf Club Chair BILLY PAYNE is "stepping down" from his position when the club opens its season Oct. 16, and "will be replaced" by Masters Tournament Competition Committee Chair FRED RIDLEY, according to John Boyette of the AUGUSTA CHRONICLE. Payne, who served as Chair for 11 years, will "assume the title" of Chair Emeritus. He is "stepping down after several notable achievements, including the admission of the club’s first female members" in '12. Former U.S. Secretary of State CONDOLEEZZA RICE and South Carolina businesswoman DARLA MOORE were "invited to join nearly a decade after the club’s membership practices were criticized by a national women’s organization." With golf "struggling to attract new players because of time and money, Payne joined forces with golf’s governing bodies to create the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship." Payne also "vastly increased" the Masters' digital presence, bringing the "latest in television technology to the broadcasts." He "expanded content available on the tournament Website with live video channels and a tracking feature that enabled patrons to follow the shots of each player in the tournament." Payne "transformed Augusta National’s grounds with an aggressive program that included improvements in parking, on-course amenities, hospitality and even how patrons arrived at the course" (AUGUSTA.com, 8/23). GOLFWEEK's Brentley Romine notes Payne helped "orchestrate a new Masters Tournament television contract" with ESPN in '07, and that same year added Mercedes-Benz and Rolex as the "first two global sponsors to support Masters telecasts and golf development programs outside the U.S." In '11, Augusta National "reached an agreement" with EA Sports on an "unprecedented" video game, "Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters" (GOLFWEEK.com, 8/23).

PAYNE'S LEGACY: GOLF DIGEST's Jaime Diaz writes Payne's legacy "indisputably qualifies him as the most significant" Augusta National and Masters Chair since Clifford Roberts. In his "relatively short time, Payne has fulfilled an enormous to-do list." Under Payne, the position of the Masters and Augusta National among golf’s major organizations "has climbed in stature and import." The club has a "bigger voice in the game’s issues and seems to operate with more autonomy." By "shrewdly blending its increased revenues with a broader, more culturally current vision, Payne pushed the previously often hidebound club and its tournament into the 21st century with a vitality that in retrospect is stunning" (GOLFDIGEST.com, 8/23). Jack Nicklaus said Payne "might ruffle a feather somewhere along the way, but that’s okay." Nicklaus: "He’s doing what he thinks is right and I think that’s what his job was and his position was.” Nicklaus: "The President of the United States is the leader of the free world, the Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club is the leader of the free golf world and that’s what he is. He has the ability to innovate and do things that nobody has the ability to be able to get done. ... (Payne) had a strong personality to get that done." Meanwhile, Golf Digest's Diaz said allowing women would probably go down as Payne's "most important moment ... because it was a such a landmark.” Diaz: “In my perception, The Masters was always slightly below the USGA and the R&A in terms of influence and under Billy Payne it’s almost been a reversal in which The Masters is the leading voice” (Golf Channel, 8/23). GOLFCHANNEL.com writes Payne's 11-year term -- the second-longest in club history -- was "arguably the most transformative in the 84-year history of Augusta National." Meanwhile, Ridley will become the "first chairman to have played in the Masters" (GOLFCHANNEL.com, 8/23).

AUGUSTA NATIONAL GOLF CLUB CHAIRS
NAME
YEARS SERVED
Clifford Roberts
'31-76
William Lane
'76-80
Hord Hardin
'80-91
Jackson Stephens
'91-'06
Billy Payne
'06-17
Fred Ridley
'17-TBD

Name: Patrick Fitzgerald

Position: FedEx Senior VP/Integrated Marketing & Communications

Where I’m from: Chicago

Where I call home: Pittsburgh

Focusing on right now: This week in particular, I’m very focused on the start of the FedExCup Playoffs. We use our sponsorships to really promote the brand and connect with communities across the world. This time of year, it's very exciting and busy for us.

Best advice: My grandfather told me a long time ago to figure out what you’re good at and then work like heck to make sure that no one is better at it than you.

Must have for a new hire: A lot of it is specific to your area of focus, but across advertising, communications and sponsorship, you must be a very good communicator and story teller. In the world we’re in now, a lot of that is in digital channels. But it comes down to the core of storytelling, communicating, writing and just being able to tell the FedEx story.

Execs I admire: I get to work day to day FedEx CEO FRED SMITH. He literally invented the overnight air express industry and has built FedEx into what it is today.

Book shelf: The best book of all-time that I’ve read is "PROFILES IN COURAGE," which was written by PRESIDENT KENNEDY and his speechwriter (TED SORENSEN).

Talking tech: Artificial intelligence is something that as a company we are putting great focus on. It will affect our business and the global economy dramatically in the years to come, and we're putting a lot of focus on ensuring that we understand it.

Must-have music: I drive my son a lot of places, and that affects the music that I listen to. I’ve gained an appreciation for some rap. Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of YO GOTTI.

Food for thought: Pittsburgh is in many ways an underrated food and restaurant city. There’s just a long list of unique restaurants. So when my wife and I have a chance to go out, there’s not one place. We try hit some of the restaurants we haven’t been to. It’s hard to be disappointed in Pittsburgh these days.

First thing in the morning: I get online and catch up on news and what’s happening in the world. We run a global operation, and it’s really a 24/7 job that I have. I’m making sure I’m connected with what’s happening at our company and around the world because the two things are very closely connected. FedEx is an engine for commerce around the world, and most news affects us in one way or another.

How I unwind: Just being involved with what my family likes to do. My wife is an actress. I love to see her perform in theater. My daughter is a really incredible dancer and singer. I love to see her perform, and my 13-year-old son is a wide receiver on his football team. So there’s plenty of time spent throwing the football in the yard with him.

Day in the life: I would say far-reaching, unpredictable and incredibly exciting, and a lot of that has to do with the nature of our business. At FedEx, we drive global commerce. There are so many, literally billions, of brand interactions with FedEx every day, and it’s very difficult to predict where the news or developments are going to come from. Being part of a team that represents that brand, whether it be at a PGA Tour FedExCup event or in FedEx Cares, you just really never know what’s going to cross your desk at any given time.

The Jazz promoted VP/Communications JONATHAN RINEHART to NBA G League Salt Lake City Stars President, effective Sept. 1. Rinehart joined the Jazz in '05 (Jazz)....UT Chattanooga named Penn State Associate AD/Development MARK WHARTON Vice Chancellor & AD (UT Chattanooga)....The Big East promoted the following: CHRIS SCHNEIDER to Senior Associate Commissioner/Sports Administration & Championships; JAMES GREENE and TANIA KENNEDY to Senior Dirs of Championships; JOHN PAQUETTE to Senior Associate Commissioner/Sports Media Relations; and BRIANA WEISS to Senior Dir of Conference Operations. The conference also named HANNA WILSON Office & Conference Services Assistant (Big East)....USA Hockey named MELLISSA LEWIS Manager of Annual Giving. The NGB also promoted the following: MADISON BROWN to Manager of Events; ANDREW KETTERER to Manager of Social Media & Digital Content; and SHEILA MAY to USA Hockey Foundation Manager of Grants & Stewardship (USA Hockey)....The LPGA named former MSG Dir of Insights & Planning KERRILYN CURTIN Dir of Market Research. MARY SALTER also was named Controller (THE DAILY)....East Tennessee State Univ. promoted Senior Associate AD & COO SCOTT CARTER to AD, effective next month. Carter replaces RICHARD SANDER, who is moving to a different role with the school (ETSU)....The Trail Blazers named JESSE ELIS Dir of Player Health & Performance, replacing CHRIS STACKPOLE, who left the team this summer. Elis has had stints with the A's and MLB Giants (Portland OREGONIAN, 8/23).

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Ready to make your next great hire? Or take the next step in your career? Connect with the industry’s top employers and job seekers on the Sports Business Career Link. For more information, contact Megi Beqiraj at 212-500-0705, or mbeqiraj@sportsbusinessjournal.com.

The second full-time female coach in the NFL, 49ers assistant KATIE SOWERS, "made history again, becoming the first openly lesbian or gay coach in the league's history." Sowers gave an interview to OutSports, "confirming her sexual orientation." 49ers coach KYLE SHANAHAN "has not specified a title for Sowers, but she will continue working with the 49ers wide receivers." Only one NFLer, former DE MICHAEL SAM, has "come out as gay during his career" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 8/23).

BENT LIKE BECKHAM: YAHOO SPORTS' Charles Robinson reports Giants WR ODELL BECKHAM JR. will "consider acquiring a massive insurance policy" -- possibly for more than $100M in injury protection -- if he "doesn't reach a contract extension with the team before the NFL's regular season begins." Sources said that Beckham's camp "explored injury insurance prior" to Monday night's preseason game against the Browns, when a "scary hit left the player with a sprained ankle." The sources said that a one-season insurance policy topping $100M would "likely cost Beckham more than $600,000 depending on the details of coverage" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/22).

G-MEN: Europe-based team G2 Esports has taken on outside investors for the first time, raising an undisclosed sum from a group that includes FC Barcelona MF ANDRE GOMES, Brazil-based agency Go4It co-Founder MARC LEMANN, multicultural media company Macro Ventures and Everblue Management. G2 will use the money to hire players and fund content creation and brand initiatives. Inner Circle Sports has been hired as a strategic advisor as G2 continues to evaluate growth prospects (Ben Fischer, Staff Writer).

NAMES: Multichannel News named NBC Broadcasting & Sports Chair MARK LAZARUS its Sports Exec of the Year (MUTLICHANNEL NEWS, 8/21 issue)....RORY MCILROY yesterday joined teenager MARY BROWDER HOWELL of Kentucky, "hitting wedge shots to targets on the field at Yankee Stadium." He "brought attention" to St. Jude's Children Research Hospital, which received a $1M donation in his name from FedEx (NEWSDAY, 8/23)....Rockets G JAMES HARDEN has "donated $100,000" to Texas Southern Univ. in an "effort to help students with financial needs." TSU President AUSTIN LANE said that the money will "help students who come from some of the lowest socioeconomic backgrounds in Houston" (CHRON.com, 8/21)....Fourth-graders at Hiawatha Leadership Academy -- Northrop K-4 school in Minneapolis were "thrilled as they rummaged through their new backpacks to find school supplies such as notebooks, markers and a pencil bag," all courtesy of T'Wolves C COLE ALDRICH. Aldrich "teamed up with the Kids in Need Foundation for a backpack giveaway" where he "packed 600 backpacks" (TWINCITIES.com, 8/21)....LUDACRIS will perform at the College Football HOF in conjunction with the PGA Tour as part of Tour Championship week in Atlanta (AJC.com, 8/22).

IN MEMORY: Longtime Stanford broadcaster BOB MURPHY died yesterday at 86 from "complications from Alzheimer's disease." Murphy had "suffered from the disease for several years." He worked for Stanford in "several capacities," starting in the mid-'60s and "culminating with his retirement" in '07. At the time, he was the analyst for football radio broadcasts and "handled play-by-play of men's basketball broadcasts." He also "worked as Stanford's sports information director" from the mid-'60s to the mid-'70s and as San Jose State's AD for three years in the late '70s (S.F. CHRONICLE, 8/23)....RAFAEL "FELO" RAMIREZ, the HOF Spanish-language radio voice of the Marlins and an “icon in Latin American baseball circles,” died Monday night at 94. Ramirez had been “hospitalized since he fell and struck his head getting off the team bus in Philadelphia on April 26.” Ramirez had been the Marlins’ Spanish-language radio voice since ’93 (MIAMIHERALD.com, 8/22). Ramirez’ well-known voice had been “absent from the airwaves since late April" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 8/23).