The Allstate Sugar Bowl Believes in Champions
Champions have long defined the Allstate Sugar Bowl. The list of Hall of Fame athletes who have competed in the annual contest is staggering. But the list of champions extends well past the football game. Since its inception in 1934, the Allstate Sugar Bowl has given opportunities to young athletes in many amateur sporting events.
In late 2016, the Allstate Sugar Bowl published stories on five athletes who competed in Sugar Bowl events and then went on to excellence after their New Orleans’ experiences.
Feature No. 1: Derek Wolfe, Football
Feature No. 2: Bob Cousy, Basketball
Feature No. 3: Patrick Mullins, Soccer
Feature No. 4: Jemima Jelaget Sumgong, Road Racing
Feature No. 5: Janice Davis, Track & Field
This was followed by four additional stories in the fall of 2017.
The Allstate Sugar Bowl Believes in Champions – Hal Sutton
It was one of the iconic moments in golf, one in which Hal Sutton uttered five words that most golf fans, when they hear them, immediately think of the Shreveport native. “Be the right club today,’’ Sutton said that day in March of 2000.
Indeed it was and it meant a lot. Sutton, then 41, was in a dual with Tiger Woods at the 2000 Players Championship. He led by one stroke over Woods headed to the 72nd and final hole, the 18th at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Sutton hit his approach shot, a six-iron from 179 yards, to within eight feet and held on for the single-shot victory over Woods.
The Players’ victory, Sutton’s second, was one of the highlights of a stellar career for Sutton, who won 14 PGA Tour events, including the 1983 PGA Championship for his lone major and the 1998 Tour Championship. He also played four times for the U.S. Ryder Cup team (1985, ’87, ’99 and 2002) and was captain in 2004. Though he won only one major, he recorded top-10 finishes in the other three, the Masters (10th in 2000), the U.S. Open (tied for fourth in 1986) and the British Open (tied for 10th in 1999).
Sutton’s career had many high points. How many golfers can say they held off arguably the two greatest golfers of all time – Woods and Jack Nicklaus – in big PGA Tour tournaments during their playing days? Sutton can. In the ’83 PGA Championship, played at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles, Sutton won by a single stroke over the Golden Bear. He was selected the 1983 PGA Player of the Year.
It was clear Sutton had a bright future as an amateur. He was the collegiate golfer of the year in 1980 after winning four events at Centenary and was a three-time All-American. He also won the Allstate Sugar Bowl’s Corbett Award as the state’s top amateur athlete in 1980.
The Corbett Award has a long list of notable sports figures. Since its inception in 1967, Corbett Award winners include 17 NFL players, eight Major League Baseball players, four NBA players (including two Hall of Famers), eight Olympians (including seven gold medal winners) and three WNBA players, not to mention Sutton.
As sweet as winning was, Sutton said he discovered golf wasn’t the only thing in life. Yes, beating Woods in his prime was the zenith of his career, he said.
“I look back on that win, and it was probably the high point of my career,” Sutton said in an interview with Golf Magazine. “I’d beaten the best player in the world head-to-head. It was more money than I’d ever won in a single event. But what does that all mean? That money is long spent, and the memory of the win, it’s almost like a blip.”
So Sutton began off-the-course endeavors that led to recognition he considers more valuable than what he did playing. He was a driving force in the establishment of the Christus Schumpert Sutton Children’s Hospital in Shreveport. Along with Kelly Gibson and David Toms, he helped raise more than $2 million in relief aid for victims of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. In 2007, he won the Payne Stewart Award for his charitable efforts.
“The Allstate Sugar Bowl is pleased to sponsor the Corbett Award,’’ Allstate Sugar Bowl CEO Paul Hoolahan said. “Certainly, the list is impressive with so many athletic greats. But we’re also proud of how many of these exceptional athletes give back to the community, much like Hal Sutton.’’
Since 1967, the Sugar Bowl Committee has been honored to sponsor the Corbett Award and highlight the on and off-the-field achievements of its winners, athletes like Hal Sutton. That’s because, at the Allstate Sugar Bowl, We Believe in Champions.
– Story by Trey Iles