It’s not often that a first-year tournament director has as much good news to share at his first press conference as Dusty Buell on the future of the Wichita Open on Tuesday.
The major announcement was the introduction of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas as the new title sponsor of Wichita’s premier golf tournament for the next three years, but Buell also shared that the tournament has resumed with Crestview Country. Club and the Korn Ferry Tour on new five-year agreements to keep the event in Wichita until at least 2027.
And when the Wichita Open is played June 15-18, 2023, the event will now feature a record $1 million purse.
Buell attributed Tuesday’s flurry of good news to his predecessor, Roy Turner, who retired after the Wichita Open this summer after a 23-year run as tournament director.
“I relish a lot of Roy wins,” Buell said. “It’s not about coming in and taking anything out of what Roy has done. It’s about coming in and making sure everything he’s done continues in a major way. I don’t want to be the next Roy Turner. I don’t think anyone can. It’s hard to put yourself in the shoes of a legend, but I want to make sure that one thing Roy and I have in common is our intense and immense passion for this community.
“He’s going to be my mentor over the next year and I’m going to take all the wisdom I can from him and we’re going to do this together for a year and then hopefully by then I’ll be ready to walk. in these shoes.
After recently adding KU Wichita Pediatrics as presenting sponsor, Buell said the Wichita Open is thrilled to add Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas as presenting sponsor.
Since the inaugural event in 1990, the tournament has generated more than $3 million for youth programs and charity in the Wichita area.
Both sides agreed the fit was natural, given how much of their mission statements to help Wichita overlap.
“We have been a lower level sponsor of the tournament for some time and have had such a great experience and we have understood how much good it does for the community,” said the President of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas. said Matt All. “The fact that we are from here, that we live here, our whole mission is to benefit the people of this region.
“It was an easy choice once we had the chance to become the title sponsor.”
The 72-hole tournament has helped draw over 50,000 spectators to Wichita each June. The 17th hole at Crestview has become one of the most iconic stops on the Korn Ferry Tour with bustling sold-out crowds providing a unique atmosphere.
Buell suspects the increase to $1 million will make the Wichita Open a must-attend event for top players on the Korn Ferry Tour.
“I’m not sure we ever saw that coming,” Buell said. “The talent we’re going to get for Wichita continues to grow. We’re going to have the best and brightest players on the Korn Ferry Tour. The people you see playing at Crestview next summer will probably be on the big tour next year, winning tour championships, winning majors. You can get that personal, close connection with these guys like no other in Wichita.