09:23 AM

Patrick Cantlay and Patient Champions from Nationwide Children’s Hospital win at 2021 Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide

Before Sunday’s sudden-death, two-hole playoff, the last time that golf patrons lined the 18th green of Muirfield Village Golf Club to watch the final round of the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide was June of 2019 when Patrick Cantlay captured his second PGA TOUR win. After a 2020 Tournament that was contested without fans, Sunday’s scene at “Jack’s Place” featuring a full gallery and a winning performance by Cantlay felt quite familiar.

The trophy presentation, complete with the traditional handshake from Tournament founder and host Jack Nicklaus, capped a week of world-class golf competition that also served to draw attention to an important philanthropic mission.

In the last 11 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 Hospital 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 extraordinary care is provided to every child, regardless of a family’s ability to pay.

“Nationwide has proudly partnered with Jack Nicklaus and the Memorial Tournament because we share common goals: Delivering a world-class golf event in our hometown while making a big difference in our community by supporting charities like Nationwide Children’s Hospital,” said Ramon Jones, Nationwide Chief Marketing Officer.

Since 2011, Nationwide and the Memorial Tournament have raised nearly $17 million for Nationwide Children’s. 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.

In partnership with Nationwide Children’s Hospital and the Memorial Tournament, Nationwide has collaborated on the Patient Champion program since 2015.

“This event is a way we can recognize some amazing kids who have overcome obstacles greater than many of us could imagine, and to celebrate their inspirational stories with a fun day at Muirfield Village Golf Club,” said Jones.

During this year’s Nationwide Invitational Pro-Am, ten Patient Champions, who were outfitted in personalized caddie bibs, were given front-row access at a tee-side viewing area to watch the PGA TOUR pros. During a break in the golf action, the Patient Champions were treated to visits from Jack and Barbara Nicklaus, as well as NFL great and Nationwide spokesman Peyton Manning. A round of famous Memorial Tournament milkshakes capped off their special day.

When asked about her experience, Patient Champion Savannah Parsons said, "This exceeded the expectations I didn't know I had.”

Columbus native and IndyCar Series driver Graham Rahal participated in the Pro-Am as a guest of Nationwide for the second time and this year brought a new perspective. “Being a new dad, the biggest thing you pray for each and every day is the health of your kid,” Rahal said. “I think everybody in this area is really blessed to have Nationwide Children's Hospital.”