As Bernhard Langer battled Vijay Singh in the final holes of the Senior PGA Championship on Sunday afternoon in route to a historic victory, Loudoun’s hospitality leaders were enjoying the benefits of the international attention.
With his two-stroke win at Trump National in Lowes Island, Langer became the first golfer to complete the senior grand slam, winning all five major tournaments on the Senior PGA circuit.
While unseasonably chilly and wet weather kept crowd sizes down during the tournament, the event delivered on promises to give the region an economic boost.
Loudoun hotels saw their occupancy up 14 percent during the tournament, according to Visit Loudoun.
“In bringing the 2017 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship to Loudoun County, Visit Loudoun was able to showcase the county as a world class sports destination, and not only leverage the opportunity to reach a national television audience, but also provide unique local experiences for those that visited throughout the event,” stated Jackie Saunders, Visit Loudoun’s vice president of marketing.
Visit Loudoun helped recruit volunteers and use the publicity around the Senior PGA to showcase Loudoun as a golf destination. This year also brought a first for the Senior PGA and for Loudoun breweries: The Senior PGA partnered with Lost Rhino Brewing Company as the official craft beer sponsor of the event and featured the brewery’s Double Bogey Blonde Ale.
“Lost Rhino is excited to be the first brewery in PGA’s history to brew a beer specifically for one of their historic events,” said Matt Hagerman of Lost Rhino Brewing.
“Golf is the international language of business, and having the Senior PGA Championship in Loudoun helped raise awareness of this county and its assets with business leaders around the world,” said Loudoun Economic Development Executive Director Buddy Rizer.
“We were incredibly fortunate to have a local partner like Visit Loudoun to help us connect with this community over the last two years,” said Championship Director Bryan Karns. “Their support for our Championship has been critical in nearly every facet of our operations and we are thrilled to be able to showcase the beauty of Loudoun County to our fans, volunteers and national television audience.”
The event also saw protests. Members of grassroots Indivisible organizations demonstrated both outside the event and on the Potomac River by the golf course. They said their intent was not to disrupt the golf championship, but protest allegations of President Donald J. Trump’s conflicts and interests and pressure KitchenAid and the PGA to sever ties with Trump’s properties.
“The Senior PGA Tournament occurring at the Trump National Golf Course is a prime example of the conflicts of interest that persist between President Trump and the Trump Organization,” stated Indivisible District 10 co-founder Guy Potucek. “There are many fine golf courses in Northern Virginia that could host this event that wouldn’t financially benefit our elected officials and their families. As long as President Trump is connected to the Trump Organization, his properties and business are part of his presidency and cause for peaceful protests.”