Jon Rahm, Nationwide Children's Hospital a winning combination at 2020 Memorial Tournament Presented by Nationwide
COVID-19 safety protocols and the absence of spectators changed many traditional aspects of the 2020 Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide.
For example, tournament founder and host Jack Nicklaus typically greets the winner on the 18th green at Muirfield Village Golf Club with the traditional handshake. Instead, the Golden Bear was waiting for 2020 Tournament winner John Rahm with a congratulatory fist bump.
Despite some changes, one aspect of the Tournament that remained steadfast is Nationwide’s enduring support of the Memorial’s primary beneficiary, Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
In the last ten years as presenting sponsor of one of the PGA TOUR’s premier events, Nationwide has positioned the Memorial Tournament as its most prominent vehicle to showcase Nationwide Children’s and the life-changing work they do for kids and families who come for treatment from all over the U.S. and more than 50 countries around the world. And that world-class care is provided to every child, regardless of a family’s ability to pay.
Since 2011, Nationwide and the Memorial Tournament have raised nearly $14 million for Nationwide Children’s, including a record $1.45 million raised through this year’s Legends Luncheon, bringing the annual fundraiser’s 10-year total to more than $9 million. These funds support the Memorial Tournament Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and other areas of need at the hospital, including behavioral health, emergency services, family support and research.
Another positive that emerged from the unprecedented circumstances this year was the addition of a new charity-focused event, also benefiting Nationwide Children’s. The Nationwide Challenge, which was played on Wednesday of Tournament week, was a nine-hole team match-play exhibition featuring the eventual Memorial Tournament winner Jon Rahm and PGA TOUR winner Tony Finau against six-time European Ryder Cup team member Ian Poulter and 2010 U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell.
Team Rahm/Finau played for the Memorial Tournament NICU and Team Poulter/McDowell represented the hospital’s On Our Sleeves® national behavioral health movement. Skins and skills challenges represented a total of $300,000 in giving for Nationwide Children’s Hospital before Safelite stepped in with a $50,000 match to elevate the final donation to $350,000.
Although Rahm and Finau claimed victory over Team Poulter/McDowell, the real winners of the week were all the patients and families who are served by Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
As a way to personalize the stories of those patients and families, Nationwide annually hosts a special event during Tournament week, yet the pandemic forced an alternate opportunity this year.
“Typically, we treat eight Patient Champions and their families to a special on-course experience with VIP meet & greets during the Nationwide Invitational Official Pro-Am,” said Ramon Jones, Nationwide’s Chief Marketing Officer. “We adapted our plans this year to instead host a special pre-tournament event at Muirfield Village Golf Club where our patient champions practiced putting, made golf bag tags for PGA TOUR players, had photo opportunities on the 18th green and with the Memorial Trophy, and got a special video message from Jack and Barbara Nicklaus.”
Although the future remains uncertain, we can be sure that the Tournament’s commitment to supporting Nationwide Children’s Hospital will remain unchanged.