by Rick Price
The rumor is the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship will return to the Town of Marana in 2012. While an announcement is expected in the next couple of months, PGA Tour executive vice president David Pillsbury said that the Tour anticipates going back to the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Marana, Arizona, next year.
The Championship has evolved and changed based on many influences under the direction of Wade Dunagan. After hosting the event as the Project Manager for The Gallery Golf Club in 2007 & 2008, Dunagan took on the role of Executive Director for the Accenture Match Play Championship for the last three years at the Ritz-Carlton. However, it will take on one more change as Dunagan announced his resignation at the conclusion of the event.
“We did not want to make an announcement prior to or during the event. It was to be business as usual. I did not want any news of my resignation to distract from the tournament or bring any more controversy about the Championship returning since no announcements had been made for next year,” said Dunagan.
The past five Accenture Match Play Championships have been held in Marana, Arizona after seven years at La Costa Resort in Carlsbad, Calif., and one in Australia. The four-year contract at Dove Mountain expired after 2010, and a one-year extension was signed for 2011, and we are in a “wait and see” mode for 2012 and future years. It’s a promising sign that Dunagan’s replacement as Executive Director, Gerald Goodman the former Tournament Director for the Transitions Championship at Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, Fla., for the past 16 years, has moved to Tucson. Goodman was present during the week of the Accenture Match Play Championship observing the operations.
The Tucson Conquistadores Executive Director Judy McDermott said, “Wade has been an integral part of the huge success of this event since the Accenture Match Play Championship moved to Southern Arizona. We worked closely with Wade when he was with The Gallery Golf Club on the first two years of the event and of course even closer once he transitioned to his position with the PGA TOUR. We truly appreciate all that he has done for the tournament and the community. We will truly miss working with him and wish him the best in his new endeavors.”
Dunagan has been a long time local Tucson resident. He is a member of the Southwest Section PGA and former University of Arizona Wildcat. Dunagan said, “My family and I will continue living in Tucson, and I will spend more time developing and expanding my consulting & management company, HD Golf.”
A special thank you and appreciation goes out to Wade Dunagan for what he has done and meant to this community in the role he held as Executive Director for one of the largest staged golf events in the world. The efforts of Dunagan, his staff, Tucson Conquistadores and the community at large should not go unrecognized. It’s amazing the accomplishments and dollars raised for local charities over the past few years.
We wish him the best in his future endeavors and just want to say thank you again for all he has done, and will continue to do, for golf in Southern Arizona.