The Ally Challenge is Just 3 Weeks Away at Warwick Hills in Grand Blanc

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Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club, Grand Blanc, MI — August 6, 2021
Lasco Press Photo

The 4th Ally Challenge presented by McLaren starts tournament play on Friday, August 27th, 2021. Last year’s winner, Jim Furyk, will be on hand to defend his championship along with the biggest names in PGA Champions Tour golf. Ally Challenge 2019 tournament winner Jerry Kelly and major champions Retief Goosen, Mark O’Meara, and John Daly recently confirmed their expected attendance at the event to be held at the Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club

In a media day interview yesterday, Furyk talked about his Ally Challenge victory in the first PGA Champions Tour event he entered. “Warwick Hills is a place I was always comfortable playing at and that factored into my decision to play here last year. I thought it was a great place to start my Champions Tour career and it helped a lot. I put way too much pressure on myself and playing at a course I knew well was important to my success.”

Furyk, 51, became the 19th player in PGA TOUR Champions history to win his debut with his victory at the 2020 Ally Challenge. He went on to join Bruce Fleisher in September as the only golfers to win their first two starts on the senior circuit after his win at the PURE Insurance Championship.

2020 Ally Champion Jim Furyk / Lasco Press Photo

Jerry Kelly, Retief Goosen, Mark O’Meara, and John Daly Add Star Power

Looking to take the Ally Challenge Championship title away from Furyk will be PGA Champions Tour stars Jerry Kelly, Retief Goosen, Mark O’Meara, and John Daly.

Kelly has been a model of consistency and productivity since making his first PGA TOUR Champions start in 2017. He was selected as PGA TOUR Champions Rookie of the Year after an impressive first season that included two wins, 10 top-10 finishes over 20 starts, and setting a PGA TOUR Champions record with 16 consecutive rounds in the 60s, breaking Hale Irwin’s 18-year mark.

2019 Ally Champion Jerry Kelly / Lasco Press Photo

Goosen, 52, enjoyed a stellar rookie PGA TOUR Champions season in 2019. His 12 top-10 finishes over 23 starts, including two runner-ups and his first senior title at the Bridgestone SENIOR PLAYERS Championship, resulted in the Tour’s best scoring average (69.14) and Rookie of the Year honors.

O’Meara, 64, has recorded 16 PGA TOUR titles during his more than 40-year professional career, including two majors¾1998 Masters and 1998 The Open Championship¾and was the PGA TOUR player of the year in 1998. The World Golf Hall of Famer joined the PGA TOUR Champions in 2007 and has claimed three senior titles, his first two coming in 2010, including a major championship at the Senior Players.

A two-time major championship winner, Daly, is one of the most recognizable figures in golf. He has recorded five-career PGA TOUR titles and his major victories include the 1991 PGA Championship and 1995 The Open Championship.

Sponsorship Drives Charitable Contributions

Since its inception, The Ally Challenge Presented by McLaren has raised over $3 million dollars for local charities in the greater Flint area communities. Andrea Brimmer, chief marketing and public relations officer of Ally Financial, talked about Ally’s commitment to the tournament and its charitable outreach.

“We have this firm belief at Ally that we have to give back to the communities in which we work and live. With our headquarters in Detroit, Southeast Michigan is near and dear to our hearts. We felt there was a real opportunity to do good things in the Flint area. The Ally Challenge is considered one of Ally’s foundational programs and it has been a tremendous success. We love what the tournament is doing for the community, it is a pride point for our employees and we love what it is doing for our brand.”

Greg Lane, Executive Vice President, and Chief Administrative Officer at McLaren Health Care echoed Brimmer’s feelings about the golf tournament.

“Our headquarters is about 3 miles from Warwick Hills, this is a community we have been very active in. We could spend our advertising dollars on radio and television spots as everyone else does, but this is unique. It’s a great way for us to give back to the community, our employees love it and feel as if they are an important part of the event. And it’s fun.

Great Golf and Great Family Entertainment

Watching the professional golfers display their amazing skills on the course is not the only entertainment provided by the Ally Challenge Presented by McLaren. The Saturday night concert is back featuring the hugely popular country group Little Big Town. Click on the Community Concert link for ticketing details.

Also returning is one of the tournament’s fan-favorite events, the Celebrity Shootout. For 2021, this marquee competition will feature golf’s greatest champion Jack Nicklaus; fellow World Golf Hall-of-Famer Lee Trevino; and NCAA Men’s Basketball title-winning head coach Tom Izzo of Michigan State University.

The Celebrity Shootout will take place on Saturday, August 28th, following the last tournament pairing of round two and begin on Hole No. 10 at Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club. Additional details, including celebrity pairings and charitable impact, will be announced soon.

Tournament Director Matt Stepnes is the guy responsible to make sure the tournament comes off as expected. This is Matt’s second year heading the Ally Challenge Presented by McLaren. In 2020 the job was especially difficult due to the issues encountered due to the pandemic.

“Once that final putt dropped on Sunday last year there was a great sense of relief, but the next day it all started again for the coming year. We are fortunate to have a great support team at HSN Sports Group. As the tournament approaches, we have approximately 20 people on the grounds here to help coordinate all aspects of the event. The preparation of the course, working with the PGA, and the fine staff at Warwick Hills, organizing the Pro-Ams, interfacing with the over 200 sponsors and 800 volunteers. And, of course, providing the fans with the best experience possible.”

The tournament staff was excited to announce the return of the Fan Zone presented by C&L Ward. This interactive fan destination is located next to the famed 17th hole at Warwick Hills and is open Friday from 9:30 am to 7 pm, Saturday from 9:30 am to 5 pm, and Sunday from 9:30 am to 4 pm.

Patrons visiting the Fan Zone will be treated to a number of available activities, including the popular island chip shot, newly renamed the Bucket Savings Challenge, compliments of the tournament’s title sponsor, Ally Financial. The Bucket Savings Challenge allows participants to target “saving” for a vacation, house, or car and win prizes corresponding to that savings goal. Ally introduced the savings bucket tools to its online savings accounts last year.

The primary sponsor is also bringing back the Ally Deck at 17 to the Warwick Hills famed hole. The Deck is open to the public and will feature an upgraded viewing experience, photo ops, and giveaways. 

The 17th Hole at Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club / Lasco Press Photo

 Also located in The Fan Zone is the McLaren Bunker Challenge. This activation offers golf fans of all ages a chance to test their skills as well as learn more about the statewide McLaren system. Fans can try to sink a shot out of a bunker onto a mini green that is screened in for safety.

The Bunker Challenge will be hosted by McLaren volunteers and offer prizes for golf fans who sink the shot, with a chance to win a larger raffle prize at the end of the tournament. Displays along the waiting area for the bunker shot will highlight various McLaren services, including the McLarenNow telehealth service, which allows patients to virtually connect with a board-certified physician, 24/7, via their phone, laptop, or computer with a webcam. The McLaren Bunker Challenge is open during the hours of the Fan Zone, August 27-29.

Don’t Miss a Moment of the Action and Fun

Tickets are selling fast, don’t miss out on the great golf action and all the fun hosted at the course. Tickets can be purchased online at the Ally Challenge website, choose the package that fits your level of interest, and feel good about contributing funds to the community.

The Ally Challenge will be one of the premier Regular Season events on PGA TOUR Champions in 2021, which will give way to the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs – a season-ending, three tournament series used to determine the TOUR’s season-long champion. Due to the circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic, PGA TOUR Champions has combined its tournaments in 2020 and 2021 to form one season, and the next Charles Schwab Cup champion will be crowned in November 2021 at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship.

All three rounds of The Ally Challenge presented by McLaren will be broadcast on the Golf Channel.

For more information about The Ally Challenge, please visit theallychallenge.com. For the latest Ally Challenge news and updates on social media follow the tournament on Twitter and Instagram at @AllyChallenge and on Facebook at Facebook.com/AllyChallenge.