As the world prepares for the 2012 Olympics in London, officials of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro are planning for the return of golf to the games. After more than a century, golf will return to the Olympics and Art of the Olympians will celebrate this historic occasion with the College of Life Foundation Premiere Olympian Golf Classic.
To be played Dec. 2 to 4, 2012 at The Colony Golf & Country Club in Bonita Springs, Fla., the tournament will feature Olympians, professional golfers and athletes paired with amateurs in a fundraiser for Art of the Olympians Foundation Inc., the Fort Myers-based museum and gallery.
With more than 200 countries participating in the games, the impact of Olympic golf will be felt all over the world, affording many countries that have never had the opportunity a chance to grow the sport. Golf was last played in the 1900 and 1904 games.
"This historic journey will bring together iconic Olympians, golfers, celebrities, as well as business leaders in support of this philanthropic endeavor," said Bob Beamon, AOTO CEO and 1968 Olympic gold medalist. "The Premiere Olympian Golf Classic will blend sports while enriching the lives of young people by sustaining AOTO programs of art, sport and culture through the 2016 Olympic Games and beyond."
Money raised will support the nonprofit Art of the Olympians Foundation in promoting the highest ideals of humanity with their creative talents through the sport/art relationship by providing programs of art, education, sport and cultural outreach to inspire the world.
The exclusive event is slated to include 29 foursomes, plus pros. Entry fees begin at $5,000 which includes the practice round, pairing party and auction, and tournament plus food and beverage.
The title sponsor of the inaugural tournament is College of Life Foundation Inc.
"The partnership between Art of the Olympians and College of Life Foundation formed from a mutual emphasis of the importance of education, Spirit and body was the essence of early Olympians, said Charles Dauray, president of COLF. "Man had not only physical excellence but also he had spiritual excellence and that competition lifted not just the audience but the spirit of man. AOTO represents the spiritual and physical side of man; it's a combination that garners the respect of the world."
The presenting sponsor is WCI Communities. Other sponsors currently committed to the tournament are The Colony Golf & Country Club, Hilton/Embassy Suites Hotels and The News-Press Media Group. Additional sponsorship packages are available.
The Art of the Olympians Museum and Gallery at the Al Oerter Center for Excellence is a nonprofit organization home to unique exhibitions of Olympian art, Olympic memorabilia and educational activities. The museum and gallery opened in 2010 and has since secured the rights to display the USA Olympic rings, an act protected by Congress.
For additional information, call 239-332-5055 or visit www.artoftheolympians.org. Art of the Olympians is located at 1300 Hendry Street, on the waterfront in downtown Fort Myers.