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Jay Busbee

Turning Stone CEO decides to withdraw from his own tournament

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So remember that story from last week, where Nation Enterprises CEO Ray Halbritter finagled his way into the Turning Stone Resort Championship — a tournament which just happened to be sponsored by Halbritter's company?

The move brought all kinds of criticism raining down on Halbritter, the main thrust of it being that he was taking a spot away from a guy who does this for a living, and could be in the hunt for his PGA Tour card for 2011.

Halbritter, picking up on the bad vibes, wisely decided to bail on the tournament, issuing this statement:

"My intention in qualifying to be eligible to play in our Turning Stone Resort Championship was to participate in a competitive opportunity which any golfer would enjoy. In addition, given the responsibilities of my position as I mentioned in some interviews on the exemption issue, I wanted to use the platform afforded by our event to show the public, particularly American Indian youth, what can be accomplished by someone with a challenging background who puts his mind and heart into it. My goal was to celebrate, not detract from, our wonderful tournament, its players and fans. The focus this week should be on the great game of golf and enjoying the exciting competition on the course. I do not want my participation to distract from our Championship and the talented professionals who have chosen to compete here. So, I have decided to withdraw from my place in the field and to award it to another golfer to play this week. I hope our golf community will join me in celebrating a terrific week of golf and all of the fun and festivities which our team has worked so hard to present for them here at Turning Stone."

I can dig what he's going for here, but unfortunately, the perception of rich-dude-buying-his-way-in overwhelmed any possible benefit he was going to bring. Still, the tournament got a bit more publicity, and with any luck, his replacement — which will be Kirk Triplett — will tear it up and bring some more good pub to the tourney.