Jimmy V tournament to move to Raleigh

By David Bracken, Staff Writer

RALEIGH -- The Jimmy V Celebrity Golf Classic announced today that it will move from Pinehurst to Raleigh beginning next year.

The annual celebrity charity classic will be held Aug. 12-16 at the Lonnie Poole Golf Course on N.C. State's Centennial Campus. The move was formally announced at a news conference held this afternoon at the Raleigh Convention Center.

The Jimmy V Classic spent its first 13 years at Prestonwood Country Club in Cary before moving to Pinehurst for 2007 and 2008. Nick Valvano, the CEO of The V Foundation for Cancer Research, said the tournament's return to the Triangle enables it to tap it to the large number of V Foundation supporters who live in the area.

"Sometimes you don't really know what you have until you don't have it anymore," he said. "We missed the sense of community."

Valvano, brother of the late N.C. State coach Jim Valvano, also announced that the classic will add several new events when it returns to Raleigh. One of those will be a cancer research symposium at the Raleigh Convention Center where the public can learn about the types of research that the charity funds.

Valvano said the goal of the new events is to draw in people who may not play or watch golf.

"Not everybody plays golf," he said. "It's been suggested that I bowl occasionally."

The Arnold Palmer-designed Lonnie Poole Golf Course is expected to open this spring. Once open, it will be the only public course located inside the Beltline.

Mayor Charles Meeker said today that the city hopes the convention center and the Lonnie Poole course will work closely together in the future to attract events to the city. The course is less than two miles from the convention center.

"Your going to see convention visitors here who want to play golf in the afternoon and on the weekends," Meeker said.

The celebrity golf classic has raised more than $13 million for cancer research in 15 years. The V Foundation has raised almost $80 million.

david.bracken@newsobserver.com or (919) 829-4548