Match Play Match Up

When you choose a partner in business or life it is best if you select those with solid reputations, people you can trust due to their high levels of integrity. Even with that said it still requires communication and effort in team building, as any relationship needs to grow and develop.

Southern Arizona is fortunate to have such a winning team between Wade Dunagan, the

Executive Director for World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship and Judy McDermott, the Executive Director of the Tucson Conquistadores the heart of the community and marketing-ticket sales arm of the tournament.

Nothing in business is more rewarding than effectively working together. The secret that has built such a successful partnership between Dunagan and McDermott has been to follow the same systematic process and set clear goals; to know from beginning to end, what each partner wants to accomplish. Even though their goals may be slightly different, it is obvious this team complements one another. This will be the third World Golf Championship Match Play event that Dunagan has coordinated with McDermott and the Tucson Conquistadores.

“Judy is a terrific mentor and partner for me in everything we do. Her experience and leadership, along with that of all of the Conquistadores, is what makes this a great team effort with the PGA TOUR. Add Accenture in as our incredibly engaged and supportive title sponsor, and you have the foundation for a world-class event.”

Dunagan, a former University of Arizona golf standout, was part of the original team opening The Gallery Golf Club in Marana in1998. Dunagan served as General Manager of The Gallery while it hosted the Accenture Match Play Championship, and accepted his current position as Executive Director of Accenture Match Play Championship in 2008 when the event moved to its current site, the Jack Nicklaus-designed Ritz-Carlton Golf Club at Dove Mountain.

This now being the third year at the Ritz-Carlton, Dunagan says, “This year has been easier operationally, from a planning perspective. We certainly learn lessons every year to improve the operations of the event, and will make a few adjustments again this year. We are confident that these changes will make things better for our spectators, corporate guests, volunteers and players.”

“This is a critical year for us, and we will need to perform well,” Dunagan shares. “We need to rebound from our numbers being down slightly last year with stronger sales, community support and increased attendance. If we have those things in place, and our sponsors, guests, volunteers and players have had a great week, and if we reach the Conquistadores charity goal, I will be satisfied come Sunday afternoon.”

Even though growing up in California, Dunagan still considers Tucson his home. After attending the University of Arizona, he enjoyed his role as Head Golf Professional at Starr Pass until 1987. After moving to Florida for several years as the Head Professional at TPC Sawgrass course, he returned home in 1990 and has been here ever since. Dunagan spent the majority of his time as a PGA club professional at Tucson National and Tucson Country Club before starting his role at The Gallery as Project Manager. The rest is history . . .

Not only can Dunagan help present a premier world-class professional golf event, but he plays like a world-class professional as well. Having won accolades such as the Southwest Section PGA & Southern Chapter PGA Golf Professional of the year and numerous Chapter Championship titles, he currently reigns as the Southern Chapter PGA Senior Player of the Year.

McDermott is also no stranger to the golf course. Having played college golf for the UCLA Bruins, McDermott also has a strong competitive golf background at the highest level – even though she does not have many opportunities to play anymore. McDermott’s responsibilities with The Tucson Conquistadores have progressively increased since 1992. Before becoming the Executive Director in 2005, McDermott worked in Marketing, and then as Tournament Director. In a traditionally male dominated golf-industry, McDermott has done a remarkable job conquering the adversities she has faced in the high pressure role as Executive Director.

With impressive drive and desire, McDermott works tirelessly to support the Tucson Conquistadores’ mission to fund and promote youth and special needs athletics in Southern Arizona. In raising over $1 million annually, the affiliation with Accenture Match Play Championship helps an estimated 20,000 youth to benefit from programs funded by the Tucson Conquistadores.

McDermott believes the benefits of the Tournament are further reaching than just the Conquistadores mission, “The tournament is a huge win-win for the entire region of Southern Arizona by association with the Accenture Match Play Championship and The Ritz-Carlton,” she states. “We receive twenty eight hours of worldwide television coverage, reaching key influencers showcasing Southern Arizona as a visitor and business destination, not to mention an attractive community to live, work and play.”

“Accenture brings hundreds of business colleagues from around the world to this event and introduces our region as a great place to do business,” she continues. “Our community needs this kind of positive exposure now more than ever. This is a great week for our local companies to entertain clients in a World Class professional golf tournament setting.”

As a golfer, McDermott considers Southern Arizonans to have a distinct advantage at seeing the best players in the world in head to head competition, up close and personal. “We are fortunate we don’t have to travel to a U.S. Open or the Masters to see these great players”, she shares.

Ultimately, the unique “match up” of Dunagan and McDermott has played a significant role in sustaining a considerably beneficial event within our community. For most of us in Southern Arizona, we have been touched by the impact of the Accenture Match Play Championship — some of us without even realizing it. The success of the upcoming 2011 event will be the primary gauge for upcoming negotiations determining the longevity of this incredible event remaining in our area. In recognition of all great teams working together, let’s join Dunagan and McDermott in support of our entire community and do our part by attending the 2011 World Golf Championships – Accenture Match Play Championship and watching the best “64” golfers in the world play in our own backyard – hopefully, for years to come.

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