He shot 20-under par for 72 holes at Hillcrest, the greatest performance in tournament history.
“He put the pedal down at the end,” says Mario Tiziani, who led after three rounds but finished fifth.
Now Stadler will try to become the latest Nationwide Tour standout to become a PGA Tour star.
Players such as Ernie Els, John Daly, Chris DiMarco, David Toms, Stewart Cink and Zach Johnson played in the Boise Open on their way to stardom.
In fact, nine of the American Ryder Cup players this year—plus captain Tom Lehman—spent at least one season on the Nationwide Tour.
“It doesn’t surprise me, that’s for sure,” says Johnson, a Ryder Cupper who was the 2003 Nationwide Tour Player of the Year. “This game is so much about experience and learning and growing from past tournaments . . . and the purpose of the Nationwide Tour is for it to be a developmental tour.”
GIVING THROUGH GOLF
The tour also strives to make a difference in its host communities—just like the PGA Tour.
The PGA, Nationwide and Champions (players over 50) tours have contributed more than $1 billion combined to charity in their history.
The Boise Open selects 12 local youth-oriented charities each year to receive distributions from the tournament. This year, those checks will be for $25,000.
Events throughout the week benefit other charities, such as the $50,000 Kraft/Nabisco Shoot-Out.
The Shoot-Out is a skins game exhibition that has attracted stars such as Annika Sorenstam, Gary McCord and John Elway since its inception in 1991.
Plus, in 2001, the tournament turned over its ticket sales to charities. About 100 charities sold tickets this year—and they kept every dollar. They generated about $425,000 in ticket revenue, up from $31,000 in 2001.
The charities also get money from a $50,000 bonus pool that is distributed based on who sells the most tickets.
The charity numbers are a big part of the tournament’s success. Fans and volunteers are drawn not just by the golf, but by the cause.
“The big thing that’s really helped this tournament is all the money it gives to charity,” Rudd says.
“That keeps a lot of people coming back.”
VOLUNTEERS TAKE OWNERSHIP
The retention among volunteers is so great that tournament organizers haven’t publicly recruited helpers since the first event in 1990. They used 750 volunteers that year.
“They’ve taken personal ownership of what they do,” Sanders said. “They’ve made our lives a heck of a lot easier. A lot of places you go you can’t find quality volunteers who are actually going to show up on time, if not early, stay late if necessary and do whatever it takes to make it a successful event.”
Some volunteers even take vacation time to work at the Boise Open.
Joan Sipple of Boise is the chairwoman of the walking scorers. She spent three years as a walking scorer—charting each shot in her group—and just completed her 14th year as a chairwoman.
“It’s just a fun thing to do,” she says. “There’s community involvement and there’s so much support with the volunteers that we have. It’s an upbeat experience because everybody is so positive about it.”
She was recruited in 1990 because she was a regular at Warm Springs Golf Club. She helped recruit more volunteers there. Her crew has impressed her with their flexibility and willingness to help.
“My volunteers are absolutely the greatest,” she gushes.
And, just like the players, the volunteers are somewhat nervous about the future of the tournament.
Rudd, though, likes the tournament’s chances.
“A lot of people around the tournament,” says Rudd, “think even if SuperValu were to say, ‘No, we’re not going to do this,’ someone in the community would step up.”
Sanders hopes that won’t be necessary. He’s getting a good vibe from SuperValu.
“Hopefully,” he said before the decision to continue was made, “I’ll be coming back to Boise until I’m in a rocking chair.”
Photography Nitrophoto Motorsports
Text Chadd Cripe