In 1990, the Ben Hogan Tour began play in 30 cities across the United States with the goal of providing a venue of competition for the PGA TOUR stars of tomorrow. As part of that effort, Albertsons and the PGA TOUR decided to bring those golfers to the fairways of Hillcrest Country Club that very first year. Little did they know that 24 — and counting — years of making history lie ahead of them.
When Albertsons signed on as the “presented by” sponsor, the goal was to provide Boise with a first-class professional golf tournament that was beneficial to the community. Since then, the event has grown exponentially, and charities have benefitted to the tune of over $15 million in the tournament’s first 25 years.
Nearly 15,000 people visited Hillcrest Country Club the first year to watch the future PGA TOUR stars in action. That first season of the Ben Hogan tour consisted of 30 events, and the typical total event purse was $100,000.
Today, the Web.com Tour still plays host to 25 professional golf events. But now, those events are played all over the world, including Panama, Colombia, Chile, Brazil, and Mexico, and players compete for more than $17 million in prize money throughout the season. More than half the tournaments are broadcast internationally on GOLF CHANNEL.
After three seasons, Nike acquired the title sponsorship and the Ben Hogan tour became the Nike Tour. After seven seasons, the name was changed again to the Buy.com Tour. Nationwide Insurance became the title sponsor in 2003 and in 2012 Web.com became the current title sponsor.
As sponsors and tournaments have come and gone throughout the Web.com Tour’s history, one event has remained rock solid through it all — the Albertsons Boise Open. The event is one of only four that still exist from the original schedule in 1990, and the tournament is considered the premier event on the Web.com Tour.
When Albertsons LLC brought all of the Albertsons stores together under one company in 2013, the new leadership team moved quickly to renew their commitment to this important community event. In April of 2013, Albertsons LLC announced a three-year extension of the Albertsons Boise Open through 2016.
The Albertsons Boise Open continues to raise the bar for charitable contributions on the Web.com Tour. The tournament has raised more money for charity than any other Web.com Tour event and has become the number one charity fundraiser in the state of Idaho. That success is the result of the hard work of a dedicated team and a strong foundation of loyal sponsors, volunteers and supporters.
Each year, Idaho golf fans are also treated to some of the best golf in the world. Scores of now household names have passed through Boise on the way to the top of the golf world. Ernie Els, Jim Furyk, Stewart Cink, David Duval, John Daly, Bubba Watson, Zach Johnson and Keegan Bradley among others.
The Albertsons Boise Open has also been home to many firsts. In 2009, tournament organizers offered a sponsor exemption to Rickie Fowler, which enabled him to make his debut as a professional at the tournament.
In 2003, the Albertsons Boise Open made history by offering an exemption to a then 13-year-old Michelle Wie, who accepted the invitation and became both the youngest player and first female to compete in a Web.com Tour event.
In 1991, the Albertsons Boise Open debuted Skins for College Golf as a special pre-tournament event. The event featured celebrities in a fun-filled nine-hole exhibition that generated tens of thousands of dollars for the college golf programs at the University of Idaho and Boise State University.
In 2003, Skins for College Golf gave way to the Kraft Shootout as the tournament’s supporting event. The Kraft Shootout was a made-for-TV spectacle that aired on GOLF CHANNEL and pitted celebrity teams against each other in a light-hearted, fan-friendly competition that attracted players such as Arnold Palmer, John Daly, Craig Stadler, Kevin Stadler, Bubba Watson, Annika Sorenstam, Nancy Lopez, Michelle Wie, and Gary McCord to name a few. During its five-year run, the Kraft Shootout also raised more than $1 million for a variety of Idaho charities.
In 2013, Russell Knox became only the fifth player in the history of the Web.com Tour to shoot a 59 when he holed a 6-foot par putt on the 9th hole, his final hole of the day. Russell joined the “Web.com Tour 59 Club” alongside Will Wilcox (also in 2013), Jason Gore (2005), Notah Begay (1998), and Doug Dunakey (1998). Russell’s 12-under par 59 broke the previous course record at Hillcrest Country Club of 61 by two shots.
But what might be the Albertsons Boise Open most lasting legacy debuted in 2001 – the Jimmy Dean TICKETS Fore CHARITY™ program. The program offers local non-profit organizations the opportunity to sell tournament tickets and keep 100% of the money from those sales. This revolutionary program is now the standard for golf tournaments across the U.S. More than 20 tournaments on the PGA TOUR, Web.com Tour, Champions Tour and LPGA Tour are utilizing the very same TICKETS Fore CHARITY program pioneered by the Albertsons Boise Open.
World-class golf. Millions of dollars for charity. Ground-breaking firsts. The Albertsons Boise Open has seen it all in its first 24 years.