While COVID-19 kept the Korn Ferry Tour from rolling through Nashville this year, it didn’t stop the tournament’s title sponsor from giving back.
Simmons Bank, which sponsors the Simmons Bank Open, got creative after the April 30-May 3 event at Nashville Golf and Athletic Club was canceled, finding another way to raise money for the event’s charity, the Snedeker Foundation. Through an initiative called Drive. Putt. Do Good., Simmons Bank involved its four ambassadors on the KFT – Will Zalatoris, Braden Thornberry, Kevin Dougherty and Dawson Armstrong – and pledged to donate $50 for every birdie made during the remainder of the year on both the KFT and PGA Tour.
“When the Simmons Bank Open was canceled this year, we knew we needed to find a safe, creative way to deliver on our promise to support the mission of the Snedeker Foundation,” said George Makris, chairman and CEO of Simmons Bank. “At a time when so many canceled events mean canceled donations for worthy causes, we’re delighted we could partner with these talented golfers to make this donation.”
The initial goal: $50,000.
The final tally: 1,401 birdies and a total donation of $75,000.
Zalatoris was responsible for 373 of those birdies as he enjoyed a stellar year on both tours. Not only did the Wake Forest product finish the year ranked No. 1 in KFT points with a win and seven other top-10s after the restart, but he also shined on the big tour with three more top-10s this fall, including a T-6 showing at the U.S. Open, which helped him lock up special temporary status for the remainder of the 2020-21 season.
“Especially in a year like this when obviously a lot of profits are being cut, to have a company come in like that – and allow us to be involved – and to have that big of a donation is pretty cool,” Zalatoris said.
The Snedeker Foundation, which was started in 2012 by PGA Tour player Brandt Snedeker and his wife Mandy, supports a variety of child-focused charities, including Our Kids, which provides expert medical evaluations and crisis counseling services in response to concerns of child maltreatment.
“This year has posed significant challenges for nonprofits across the nation including many charity golf events that had to be canceled or postponed due to COVID-19,” Snedeker said. “It says a lot about Simmons Bank that they were willing to step up and provide a fundraising platform to generate donations, despite our tournament being canceled. They didn’t have to, but we’re very glad they did, and I join Will, Kevin, Braden and Dawson in saying we’re glad to be part of Drive. Putt. Do Good. so that the good work we’re able to do can continue.”
While his birdie count ended last week at Mayakoba, Zalatoris said his involvement with the Snedeker Foundation through Simmons Bank won’t stop here.
“We’ll always be doing something for the Snedeker Foundation,” he said. “There’s no question about that.”