BOSTON, Dec. 14, 2017 – Members of The Legends Tour turned the tables this year to honor Kris Ikkela, a member of The Legends Tour staff, as the recipient of the 2017 Colleen Walker Spirit Award.
The annual Colleen Walker Spirit Award, traditionally awarded to individuals on the competitive side of the ropes, recognizes an individual who best exhibits the tenacity, determination and never-give-up attitude that Walker demonstrated throughout her life and career.
A committee comprised of Legends Tour players and members of Walker’s family selects the annual award recipient based on nominations by tour members. That individual is honored at the end of each season.
“Kris has been a huge part of The Legends Tour family and has always been steadfast with her commitment, loyalty, friendship and deep love for the Tour,” said LPGA and Legends Tour winner Barb Mucha. “She displays daily the qualities embodied by the Colleen Walker Spirit Award.”
Unknown to most, Ikkela quietly dealt with health concerns over the past year, ranging from thyroid issues to knee and shoulder surgeries, while continuing to perform her duties at The Legends Tour with her “usual great attention to detail,” noted incoming Legends Tour President Gail Graham.
“Kris’s dedication to The Legends Tour is unwavering and she attacks her job with great passion,” said Graham. “She is tireless in her purpose and we know we can count on her to get things done for us.”
As chief operating officer of JBC Golf, a Boston-based event management company charged with operating many Legends Tour tournaments, Ikkela has worked for The Legends Tour since its inception in 2000, and has been involved in every Legends Tour event since that time. The Massachusetts native manages the tour and JBC Golf’s daily operations, communications, rules officials and event implementation.
Ikkela has been instrumental in the creation of The Legends Tour brand, as well as its longest-running event -- the ISPS Handa Cup. She also handles ongoing marketing and business development efforts for The Legends Tour.
In addition, Ikkela routinely interacts with Legends Tour players to disseminate event information, fill tournament fields, coordinate player appearances and has served as a longtime advocate for continuing the careers of veteran LPGA players.
“I am very proud and humbled to stand alongside past Colleen Walker Spirit Award recipients who exemplify Colleen's spirit in golf and life,” said Ikkela. “Colleen was a champion on and off the golf course, and it was such a privilege to have known her. Like many, it was impossible to not be inspired by Colleen's determination, grace and humanity.”
Previous Colleen Walker Spirit Award recipients have been: Carrie Sexton (2013), Heather Drew (2014), Shelley Hamlin (2015) and Dawn Coe-Jones (2016).
Colleen Walker was a nine-time LPGA Tour champion and Florida State University Sports Hall of Fame member who died of breast cancer at age 56 in December 2012. Prior to her death, Walker was an active member of the Legends Tour and a tournament winner.
For more information about The Legends Tour, the official senior tour of the LPGA, visit www.thelegendstour.com.
About The Legends Tour
The Legends Tour is the official senior tour of the LPGA. The tour began in 2000 by LPGA professionals to showcase the talents of some of the greatest women’s golfers of all time. The Legends Tour has more than 120 members, including 14 LPGA and World Golf Hall of Fame members. Legends Tour players have over 750 combined LPGA Tour victories, including 84 major championships. In its 15 seasons, The Legends Tour has awarded more than $13 million in prize money and helped raise over $17 million for charity. The Legends Tour has hosted events in Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Mississippi, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Japan and Australia. For additional information on The Legends Tour, log on to www.thelegendstour.com.