May 06, 2022
Andrew George to Become Honda Classic Executive Director
Ken Kennerly to remain as Executive Director Emeritus, Advisor to The Board
Andrew George, who has been the tournament director of The Classic in The Palm Beaches for the past seven years, has been elevated to the role of Executive Director, expanding the scope of his responsibility for the daily operations of the PGA TOUR event.
Kenneth R. Kennerly, who has been the Executive Director of The Classic in The Palm Beaches since the tournament’s move to PGA National Resort in 2007, will remain Executive Director Emeritus and advisor to the Board of Directors of Children’s Healthcare Charity as he transitions into his professional role as the President of the production division of Jupiter-based PopStroke Holdings, an emerging leader in golf entertainment co-owned by Greg Bartoli and Tiger Woods.
“We are excited to give Andrew this great opportunity to continue impacting The Classic in The Palm Beaches in an even more influential role,” said John Domenico, the outgoing President of Children’s Healthcare Charity. “And we feel comfortable in the knowledge that Ken Kennerly’s ties to the tournament and community will continue indefinitely into the future.”
“Andrew has earned the respect of all involved with our tournament and his peers with the Tour,” Incoming President Joe Russo said. “I have full confidence that the Tournament will thrive under his leadership.”
The promotion to Executive Director continues the footprint that George has established with The Classic in The Palm Beaches since his arrival as an intern in 2009.
“I’m excited to continue working alongside our dedicated team to ensure consistent innovation and growth in all aspects of this marquee PGA TOUR event each year,” George said. “In my 13+ years with the organization, I’ve been both impressed and appreciative of the unrivaled community support that we receive, and this has provided the foundation for success within our philanthropic endeavors across South Florida.” Under the direction of Kennerly and George, The Classic in The Palm Beaches has emerged as one of the elite events on the PGA TOUR. The tournament was named the “Most Fan First Event” in 2019 after first being recognized as Most Fan First Event in 2014. The tournament was also recognized in 2018 for Best Onsite Staging among PGA TOUR events.
The bottom line is that attending The Classic in The Palm Beaches is one of the best fan experiences in tournament golf which is what was Kennerly’s aim in 2007 when The Bear Trap was created and extensive fan activations were introduced such as after play concerts and fireworks. Now The Classic in The Palm Beaches has advanced with more than 18 activations on the course and even double-decker seating at the 17th hole which will continue to be expanded in 2023 to also include the 18th hole.
“The Classic in The Palm Beaches will always play an enormous role in my life and I cannot be more proud to hand over the Executive Director reigns to Andrew George,” Kennerly said. “He and I have worked side by side for the past several years and he is the perfect next leader as he has the respect of the team, the vision to continue to grow the Honda, and the tremendous respect not only from our community but from his PGA TOUR peers.”
George made a quick impression as a tournament intern in 2009 and was hired as the event’s Community Relations Coordinator, helping to launch the Birdies for Children fundraising initiative, that has now generated nearly $21 million for more than 200 charities. In 2012, George was promoted to Director of Corporate Partnerships, where he secured nearly $2 million in corporate sponsorships for the tournament while also helping to reorganize the sales reporting process for better efficiency and future growth.
Prior to the 2014 Honda Classic, George shifted to Director of Operations, managing the tournament activations, course plan, and over 75 tournament vendors in production of the tournament. In just two years, the on-site buildout grew by 35% and the 17th hole alone amassed more than 60,000 sq. ft. of structures.
George was named Associate Tournament Director in July 2015 and Tournament Director in February 2016. His role has included leading a team tasked with welcoming fans and sponsors from all over the world, while focusing on raising funds for local charities in South Florida. In just six years at the helm, George has increased net tournament revenue by over 100% and he has doubled the tournament’s charitable giving total from $28 million to $55 million.
Now in his 13th year with the tournament, George sits on the PGA TOUR’s Tournament Advisory Council (TAC), a leadership team comprised of a select group of Tournament Directors, and was voted to Vice Chair of the committee earlier this year.
Kennerly’s advisory role to the Board keeps him involved with an event that has been driven by his vision for the 16 years since he formed the alliance with Jack and Barbara Nicklaus, PGA National and the City of Palm Beach Gardens and unfolded a marketing strategy to make The Classic in The Palm Beaches one of the premier events on the PGA TOUR.
“While I’m terribly excited about the opportunity ahead with PopStroke, I’m extremely proud of what we have accomplished over the last 16+ years as our team completely rebuilt the Honda Classic into one of the premier events on the PGA TOUR,” Kennerly said. “Our focus on the “fans first” initiative and the creation of outside the ropes entertainment has led to our tremendous growth. We have been so fortunate with Honda’s 41 years as title sponsor and the support of our community partners and fans. Our focus on philanthropy and the creation of Honda Classic CARES has been at the core of our overall focus and we are proud to have raised in excess of $55 million for our community in the history of the tournament.”
The 2023 Honda Classic will be played February 20-26, 2023. The Classic in The Palm Beaches will celebrate Honda Classic Cares Week June 6-10, 2022 by making charitable contributions to children’s charities throughout the South Florida community.