Breaking News
More () »

Sit-down with 2023 LPGA Dana Open tournament director: New additions coming to 39-year-old event

The annual golf tournament held at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania July 10-16 will feature a number of events prior to teeing off, including new additions.

SYLVANIA, Ohio — One of the biggest sporting events during the summertime in Northwest Ohio nears a return. We're less than two months away from Highland Meadows Golf Club hosting another edition of the 39-year-old LPGA Dana Open from July 10-16.

WTOL 11's Tyler Seggerman sat down with tournament director Judd Silverman to preview the event. Part of their conversation included some new experiences for spectators and youth.

Silverman said the event will feature a Science, Technology, Engineering and Match zone for children, sponsored by Columbia Gas of Ohio.

"Each day, we're going to have different exhibits and a couple of hands-on activities for the kids to do when they come out to the tournament," which kids 17 years old and younger have free admission to, Silverman said.

July 16, the tournament's final round, will be "Family Day," when families can park and enter the tournament grounds for free, as well as receive a BOGO coupon for hot dogs. The Family Day is sponsored by Directions Credit Union.

Before many of the world's best golfers compete for a championship in Sylvania, there are a number of events that lead up to the tournament. One of the newer festivities is called "An Evening With," which began last year and this year will host Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning on May 31 inside the Stranahan Theater.

How did they land the football star? "Real easy: money," Silverman said.

"We started this event last year, 'An Evening With' and we brought in David Feherty and Gary Koch," Silverman said. "It was very well received and we sold out the Valentine Theater. So we thought why not try and do it again? We came up with some ideas and Peyton Manning was at the top of the list. We are super excited to have Peyton Manning coming in and also joining Peyton will be comedian Henry Cho."

Cho was recently inducted into the Grand Ole Opry Hall of Fame, becoming just the third comedian to do so. Not only will the event provide laughs and insight into the lives of these celebrities, but it will also help support the 16 different children's charities that benefit from the 2023 Dana Open.

Other activities scheduled include the seventh annual Women's Leadership Summit that will be held at the Glass City Center on June 28. Silverman told WTOL 11 that he expects more than 600 northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan women in business to attend. The keynote speaker will be Dallas Mavericks CEO Cynthia Marshall.

During the week of the tournament, there will be four Pro-Am events, with some openings still available to the public for a group of foursomes.

"The support that the tournament continues to get from the community and really the play of the LPGA players, It's such a global tour and the players are from all over the world and, so it's the best of the best," Silverman said. "They shoot just amazing scores at Highland Meadows and it's fun to watch, should be another great tournament. Gaby Lopez will be back to defend her title."

Lopez needed a final round score of 63 to defeat American Megan Khang by a single stroke in last year's event. In July, the Mexican native will look to become the first woman to repeat as Dana Open champion since Se Ri Pak did it in 1998-99.

Last month, Dana Incorporated announced that they would once again be the title sponsor for this year's golf festivities and have been a supporter since the tournament's inception.

"Dana Incorporated has been a tremendous sponsor of this tournament for every year we've been around, including the last two years as our title sponsor," Silverman said. "So, we're going to work on this tournament right now because we've got a lot of work to do and make sure it ruins efficiently and is a great experience for all the fans who will come out and watch the greatest women's golfer in the world. Then, we'll set our sights on 2024."

The competition provides a fun weekend for spectators and volunteers. Silverman added that they are still looking for people to help out, including kids who can assist with being standard bearers -- walking inside and around the golf course with a mobile scoreboard.

For more information on any of Dana Open's events, ticket or to volunteer you can visit the website or call the office at 419-531-3277.


Before You Leave, Check This Out