When the Price Cutter Charity Championship concludes late Sunday afternoon, its long-time executive director will walk off the 18th green following the trophy presentation for the 26th and final time.
Jerald Andrews has known for 18 months that the day was coming, but admits he will feel a bit nostalgic — if not emotional — when his final run as the man in charge of the Korn Ferry Tour event is a wrap.
“I’ve had a couple of ‘choke’ moments already,” Andrews said last week, reviewing his transition from CEO and Executive Director of both the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame and Price Cutter Charity Championship into a new phase of life.
But don’t picture Andrews, who turns 70 next Tuesday, as headed into retirement with a rocking chair awaiting. The Bolivar native, at the helm of the PCCC since 1997, is not wired that way. He talks of finding other meaningful pursuits to keep busy.
And, officially, he will remain with the Hall of Fame as an advisor to Byron Shive, whom the Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors selected last year as his successor, through next February’s Hall of Fame enshrinement.
“At my last (Hall of Fame) luncheon, the baseball luncheon in May … I choked at that event,” Andrews said. “I hope I don’t choke on Sunday here. It’ll be different walking off that 18th green for the last time, knowing I won’t be doing it the following year.”
An Evening to Honor Andrews
Fans and friends are invited to “An Evening to Honor Jerald Andrews” Oct. 11 at the Oasis Convention Center. For ticket info, call (417) 889-3100.
Birdies, eagles and dollar bills
The PCCC, which brings golf’s future PGA Tour stars to Springfield, has been a fixture on the Ozarks’ summer sports calendar since 1990. Andrews’ first official tourney as executive director came in 1997, when John Q. Hammons named him to run the event.
Unlike the players, birdies and eagles haven’t been Andrews’ priority. His scorecard has been measured in money raised for local charities and it’s been a winning score, with the tourney raising $18.4 million for charity since its inception. The majority of that money has been raised under Andrews’ guidance.
He’s called it a labor of love, especially the check presentations to the charities (which now number 50) at a luncheon each year during the holiday season.
Kris Conley, president of the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame Board of Directors, said for all of Andrews’ stellar work with the Hall of Fame, it is the golf tournament where he will be best remembered.
“Not that it’s overlooked by any means, but I think what he’s done over the years for local charities, in regard to the Price Cutter Charity Championship, is really his legacy,” Conley said.
“He’s obviously done tremendous work in fulfilling John Q.’s dream with the Hall of Fame, and that Hall of Fame work is great, but the millions and millions of dollars that the Price Cutter (Charity Championship) has generated for local charities, in my opinion, outweighs everything that he has done.
“The impact it’s had on our community is immeasurable.”
Learning how to run a golf tournament
Andrews said he knew little about golf, other than playing it a couple of times a year, when Hammons named him the director.
“What you learn real quick is, like any event management you do, there are a lot of similarities,” Andrews said of the business models between the Hall and the PCCC. “I’ve often said the tournament really fed the Hall’s growth and success, and the Hall fed the tournament’s growth and success.”
Through it all, the tournament endured downturns in the economy, plus a pandemic and the addition of competition for sponsorship dollars. Somehow, the funding for charities didn’t miss a beat.
“Jerald always has had a vision for the tournament that has been so much larger than any of us were able to see,” said Bonnie Keller, president of Ronald McDonald House of the Ozarks, the only charity associated with the tournament since its start.
Keller described Andrews as a “steady leader with a mission” of keeping the tournament moving forward.
Conley said Andrews is a “natural-born salesperson, but more importantly, Jerald is incredibly honest. He’s one of those people that others warm up to and trust. He’s sincere.
“In my 20-plus years of knowing him, I don’t think I’ve ever run across anyone who didn’t like, or at least didn’t respect, Jerald Andrews.”
Turning negatives into positives
Andrews said one of the biggest ways the tournament has continued to make gains has been turning negatives into positives. For instance, when the Springfield Cardinals arrived in 2005 and, later, the PGA Champions Tour went into Branson for a few years, those siphoned away some sponsorship dollars.
But he and then-Cardinals general manager Matt Gifford developed a friendship and started the Cardinals Care Pro-Am, which continues to bring in funding.
The Champions Tour wound up giving Andrews two spots in its first pro-am in Branson. Andrews was able to sell those spots and help use those profits in 2014, the 25th anniversary of the PCCC, to get it over the $1 million bar that year.
Even during the 2020 pandemic, with no spectators allowed, the tournament made a larger-than-expected profit for charities after the PGA Tour covered the entire purse instead of the usual split.
“I watch so little of the golf,” Andrews said of his favorite tourney memories. “I’ve seen a couple of holes in one. It’s still fun. But the really positives to me relate to the charities.”
He said a few years ago the tournament had an excess of $100,000 and a grant program was established for charities to get additional funding that year. On one end of the spectrum, Fordland Medical Center asked for an extra $400 to buy booster seats for kids at their dental clinic; on the other, Shriners Dads asked for $40,000 to replace a worn-out van they used to transport children to Shriners Hospitals.
“The Fordland Clinic was as happy getting $400, because it met their need, as the Shriners Dads were in getting what met their need,” Andrews said. “They both were thrilled.”
Now Andrews’ days as the executive director are ticking toward a conclusion and he is unsure how he will handle Sunday’s winner’s check presentation, let alone life in the slower lane when he will no longer leave Bolivar before sunrise five days a week to make the drive to work in southeast Springfield.
“When people have said, ‘so, you’re retiring?’ I’m like, ‘no, I’m not retiring.’ I’m just going to do something different,” he said. “I don’t know what I’ll do, but I’ll do something.”
Price Cutter Charity Championship
When: Thursday through Sunday, tee times beginning at 6:55 a.m. first two days, TBA Saturday and Sunday
Where: Highland Springs Country Club
Admission: $10 daily badge; Free Thursday (Visit USA Mortgage on South National Avenue for ticket) and Free Friday (Visit OakStar Bank at 1020 E Battlefield Road)