FORT WAYNE – There are still soft notes of North Carolina in his voice, when Bruce Dye speaks these days. A little jasmine here, a little porch swing there – faint brushstrokes, perhaps, but there nonetheless.
Do not be fooled. Hes still the fiercest of champions for a state, and a city, 600 or so miles from his native soil.
Fort Wayne is a hidden gem, Dye said a couple of months ago at a media event for the Hotel Fitness Championship at Sycamore Hills. The cost of living, friendly people. This, to me, is basically about; you hear the cliché giving back, so Im not going to use that. I use continue to invest.
As a business owner, Im trying to recruit people to come to Fort Wayne. Whats in Fort Wayne? Well, you know, if youre a golfer, you have a course like Sycamore Hills. We all know it here, and so even from a local standpoint and a regional standpoint it will give Sycamore further visibility – and again, help build the community.
Scarcely anyone has put more effort into that than Dye, wholl be honored as the Mad Anthonys 2013 Red Coat winner today. He moved to Indiana in the early 1980s. In 1987, he started Heritage Food Service; 25 years later, he sold the business but hung around Fort Wayne because, by that time, he was not only CEO of Hotel Fitness but was deeply invested in the community as a whole.
Heritage Food Service, for instance, was the title sponsor for the Mad Anthonys Charity Classic for Children for the past three years, and Dye, a longtime supporter of the Mad Anthonys and the Childrens Hope House, was instrumental in updating the tournament format to include top LPGA pros including former Fort Wayne resident Amanda Blumenherst and Hall of Fame Nancy Lopez.
This year, he helped lead the effort to bring the Hotel Fitness Championship to Sycamore Hills, a Web.com Tour finals event that promises to be the biggest golf event in Indiana in 2013.
About five years ago, Don Hunter, who was the general manager here at Sycamore at the time, started looking at possible events, Dye says of the latter. So we started with a couple of USGA events, then the Junior PGA championship was here for three years. So this was the next progression, an opportunity.
When (the Web.com Tour) changed their format, we had been asking to be considered for one of the four finals events, and they came calling.
Not that Dye will accept any particular laurels for any of that. No one, apparently, has ever given him lessons in blowing his own horn.
Im not the guy thats doing this, he said in June, an assertion a lot of people around him would dispute.
Ive gotten a lot of accolades for this, but I came along just a few years ago. Weve been looking at this for about five years, but we go back 25 years to Mr. (Jim) Kelley. (Sycamore Hills) was his vision.
So, its basically Fort Wayne, and the Sycamore Hills investment group whove done this.
Not that he can avoid complete credit, given that the company for which hes CEO has its name on the tournament.
Hotel Fitness is extremely excited to bring this event to Fort Wayne, Dye said in June. I dont think anyone really understands whats going to come to Fort Wayne in 60 days, and thats my excitement. You look at Fort Wayne the first week, Charlotte (N.C.) the second week, Columbus, Ohio, the third week, then down to Ponte Vedra (Fla.) the fourth week, were in pretty good stead.