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Originally published Thursday, April 30, 2009 at 12:00 AM

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Boeing Classic optimistic despite poor economy, loss of tourney director

Michelle DeLancy has assumed the role of interim director of the tournament, and she doesn't think the economy will hurt ticket sales. She attributes that to the quality field expected for the tournament, led by defending champion Tom Kite, and an emphasis on getting more families to the event.

Seattle Times staff

Boeing Classic

Aug. 28-30, PGA Champions Tour @ TPC at Snoqualmie Ridge

With a strong field expected for the fifth Boeing Classic in late August, optimism remains high at tournament headquarters despite the tough economic times and the departure of Chuck Nelson, the director of the Champions Tour event since its inception in 2005.

Michelle DeLancy has assumed the role of interim director of the tournament, and she doesn't think the economy will hurt ticket sales. She attributes that to the quality field expected for the tournament, led by defending champion Tom Kite, and an emphasis on getting more families to the event.

"Kids 14 and under will be free this year, and we think that will help ticket sales," she said.

Tournament week at the TPC at Snoqualmie Ridge begins Monday, Aug, 24, with the inaugural Jim Mora Celebrity Challenge. The Seahawks coach ran a similar event when he was coaching the Atlanta Falcons.

The Seahawks Pro-Am is Aug. 26-27, and the Champions Tour event takes place Aug. 28-30.

The tournament has raised more than $2.7 million for the Heart Institute at Virginia Mason Medical Center and additional charities. Much of that money has come from sponsorships and Pro-Am entry fees.

"The economy is definitely making it tough," DeLancy said. "We've seen sponsors who have had to cut back and some haven't confirmed that they will be back. We are still working hard on getting Pro-Am spots [filled] and sponsorships. We still have a few months, and we're optimistic."

Among those who have tentatively committed to play are several major winners on the PGA Tour: Kite, Bernhard Langer, Nick Price, Mark O'Meara, Craig Stadler, Jeff Sluman and Dave Stockton.

Nelson, the former UW football star, was instrumental in the tournament's success the past four years, but DeLancy said things are going well.

"Chuck started something great, and we've been able to move forward with everything he set up," she said.

Getting volunteers shouldn't be a problem. With 660 signed up by mid-April, it was ahead of last year's pace when nearly 1,000 people volunteered.

Ticket prices are the same for adults: $20 daily, $40 for Friday through Sunday and $60 for the week. Formoreinformation,gotoboeingclassic.com.

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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