TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - After three decades at the helm of PGA TOUR and PGA TOUR Champions events in Tucson, the Tucson Conquistadores’ Executive Director and Cologuard Classic Tournament Director Judy McDermott will step away from professional tournament management, to focus full time on her role as executive director of The First Tee of Tucson – a program McDermott and the Conquistadores established in 2006.
The search for a new executive director for the Conquistadores and tournament director for the Cologuard Classic will begin immediately.
“If the nonprofit world handicapped its leaders based on passion, perseverance, effectiveness and humility, Judy McDermott would be a scratch player,” said Tucson Conquistadores President Rob Draper. “She has done a masterful job of growing the Conquistadores’ several organizations and leading them through many permutations of their mission: hosting professional golf in Tucson to raise money for kids. I doubt there is any equal to the financial and personal impacts that her sustained efforts have made, and will continue to make, on youth sports in Southern Arizona.”
McDermott joined the Tucson Conquistadores in 1992 as marketing director for the PGA TOUR’s Northern Telecom Open. Soon thereafter, the Conquistadores named her tournament director for subsequent PGA TOUR events held through 2006.
McDermott’s title changed to executive director in 2007 when the Conquistadores hosted the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship from 2007 through 2014. In 2015, McDermott began a five-year run leading tournament planning and operations for Tucson’s PGA TOUR Champions event, the Cologuard Classic.
In recent years, McDermott has worn multiple hats, concurrently serving as executive director for the Tucson Conquistadores, the Conquistadores Foundation, The First Tee of Tucson and tournament director for the Cologuard Classic. During her tenure with the Conquistadores, the group has raised more than $26 million for youth athletic programs in Southern Arizona.
“It’s been an incredible three-decade journey leading professional golf events, raising money for the Tucson community and bringing national and international television exposure to the region,” said McDermott, who played golf collegiately at UCLA. “I’m looking forward to dedicating my time to The First Tee of Tucson and helping young people develop their life and leadership skills through golf. I love Tucson and will continue my efforts to expand our outstanding First Tee program at golf courses and at elementary schools throughout Southern Arizona.”
The First Tee is a youth development organization introducing the game of golf and its inherent values to young people. Through after school and in-school programs, The First Tee helps shape the lives of young people from all walks of life by reinforcing values like integrity, respect and perseverance through the game of golf.
In 2006, McDermott and the Conquistadores partnered with the PGA TOUR and the City of Tucson to bring The First Tee program to the Trini-Alvarez El Rio Golf Course. The First Tee of Tucson, a chapter of the National First Tee program and part of the World Golf Foundation, is currently at eight locations throughout Pima County and will grow to nine when the program opens at Davis Monthan Air Force Base later this year.
"On behalf of our board, staff, volunteers, and most importantly our kids, we are so looking forward to having Judy's full talent devoted to the program," said The First Tee of Tucson President Steve Glaser.
McDermott was inducted into the Pima County Sports Hall of Fame in 2015 and named the Women of Influence Nonprofit Champion Award in 2017. She currently serves on the Beacon Group Board of Directors and is a member and past president of Women at the Top and a member of the City of Tucson Greens Committee.
2019 marked the second year of the Cologuard Classic, named after Wisconsin-based Exact Sciences’ noninvasive at-home colon cancer screening test for average-risk individuals 50 years or older, and the fifth year the Conquistadores have partnered with the PGA TOUR Champions.
ABOUT THE TUCSON CONQUISTADORES
The Tucson Conquistadores are the host organization of the PGA TOUR Champions’ Cologuard Classic. Since their inception in 1962, the Conquistadores have contributed more than $35 million to youth athletic programs in Southern Arizona. The Conquistadores have an active membership of up to 60 business and community professionals and a total membership of 209 who represent a cross-section of the Tucson community. In addition to their professional golf activities, the group has established the Tucson Conquistadores Foundation. Key beneficiaries of the Conquistadores' fund-raising efforts include: the Pima County Junior Soccer League; the Sporting Chance Center; The First Tee of Tucson; Tucson and Pima County Junior Golf Programs; the Field of Dreams/Challenger Little League sports complex; Boys and Girls Clubs in Tucson, Sierra Vista and Nogales; Pima County Special Olympics; Educational Enrichment Foundation; and the YMCA.
ABOUT THE FIRST TEE OF TUCSON
The First Tee of Tucson (FTT) was established in 2006 with the support of the Tucson Conquistadores. FTT has developed into a youth development organization providing an array of proven programs that build self-esteem and encourage healthy behaviors, while teaching the game of golf. FTT engages children from all corners of the community, especially disadvantaged children, as participants in their programs. During 2018, FTT provided youth development programs in greater Tucson, each emphasizing basic golf motor skills, core values and healthy habits for nearly 40,000 students at 80 elementary schools in the Tucson Unified School District and almost 1100 participants in the Life Skill Experience curriculum at seven course locations.