The uncertainty surrounding the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational’s future in Akron has led to talk related to the event’s impact on local organizations – and neighbors.
About 27 million has been raised for local organizations since 1984, according to Northern Ohio Golf Charities. In 2016, 38 organizations split more than a $1 million raised through the professional golf event.
The yearly event has also become a way for local residents to make some money, parking the cars outside of their homes as golf fans make their way to the Firestone Country Club.
About three months ago, Peggy Page was enjoying another year – nearly 30 years – parking cars outside of her house during the Bridgestone Invitational.
“When [the Bridgestone Invitational] had it in June, oh my goodness,” Peggy Page said. “Throughout the whole four days I might have made $1,000.”
Page, a retired math teacher, said the money helped to pay for school supplies in past years.
“Today I use it to get caught up on bills because I’m on a fixed income,” Page said.
But now Page has been left wondering whether 2018 might be the last year. Page is just one of many who have benefitted from the event, including a list of organizations who have split more than a $1 million each year, according to the Northern Ohio Golf Charities, Inc. In 2016, 38 organizations, including Akron Children’s Hospital, split more than a million dollars. About $27 million has been raised since 1984.
Thousands have also spent years working as volunteers.
Bridgestone’s contract at Firestone is up after next year’s tournament in 2018. The PGA released the following statement:
“Conversation about the future after 2018 are continuing. No decisions have been finalized. None of these discussions impact the 2018 Bridgestone Invitational, which will mark the 65th anniversary of professional golf at Firestone Country Club. We look forward to hosting a great tournament this summer.”
“A lot to be lost,” Page said. “I think they’ll make the right decision. I’m hopeful.”