As the Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational tournament director Kip McBride kept a close watch on how other professional golf tournaments are run throughout the country. The economy has not been kind.

As the Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational tournament director Kip McBride kept a close watch on how other professional golf tournaments are run throughout the country. The economy has not been kind.

"A lot of tournaments in all the tours have gone down as far as building temporary structures for fans," McBride said. "We've increased ours. That's my indicator that things are going well."

In its third season on the Nationwide Tour, the Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational boasts a $775,000 purse, which is in the top five biggest purses of the 29 events and above the $637,934 average.

"Also the way we fit into the schedule, we're in toward the end of the season," McBride said. "The top 25 on the Nationwide Tour get their PGA Tour card for the following season and, for example, if you're seventh or eighth on the money list, if you win our event, that'll all but guarantee you a spot in that top 25."

Last year's winner, Bill Lunde, was among the players to finish in the top 25. Entering the PGA Tour's U.S. Bank Championship on July 16 in Milwaukee, Lunde played in 19 PGA Tour events this season, making 11 cuts and finishing in the top 25 three times to win $501,636.

Lunde finished last year's NCHI with a chip-in from 30 feet on the 72nd hole to finish 5-under par, one stroke ahead of Dustin Bray, who was sitting in the clubhouse awaiting the playoff.

"I don't know how we're going to top that finish," McBride said.

McBride has a point, but NCHI has gotten off to a good start as they announced July 1 that the event has surpassed $1 million mark in charitable giving.

Last season, the NCHI Charity Ticket Program was initiated as 100 percent of all general admission ticket revenue was returned to charity that includes the primary beneficiary, the Nationwide Children's Hospital's Pediatric Cancer Treatment and Center.

As a result, tickets sales have increased, according to McBride.

Each of the last two seasons, the NCHI also named an honorary chairperson. In the inaugural season it was Jack Nicklaus and last season it was former Ohio State player John Cook.

Cook's coach on the 1979 National Championship team, Jim Brown, recently retired. During the winter, NCHI officials asked Brown if he would be the honorary chairperson following his final season as Buckeyes men's golf coach.

"I was floored," Brown said. "I'm following Nicklaus and Cook. That's a good combination. It's a great thing for me. I've been involved in golf my whole life and to be able to do something like this it's a great honor."

Brown was the longest tenured head coach in Ohio State and Big Ten men's golf history when he stepped down after 36 seasons. In his career, he led Ohio State to 17 Big Ten championships, the 1979 National Championship and was named Big Ten Coach of the Year three times (1995, 1996 and 2004) and National Coach of the Year in 1976 and 1986.

Brown, who has attended every round of the last two NCHI events, will be able to watch his players, Bo Hoag and Vaughn Snyder.

Brown's last season coincided with Snyder who finished second on the team with a 73.57 stroke average and was named the Ohio Golfer of the Year by Ohio's Golf Magazine. Last year, Snyder won the 102nd Ohio Amateur and last June he competed at the U.S. Open at Bethpage State Park's Black Course in Farmingdale, N.Y. Snyder missed the cut and finished tied for 142nd.

Snyder left New York not that impressed with the Black Course mystique.

"Bethpage doesn't compare to Scarlet at all," Snyder said. "Especially in the soft conditions we played in.

"I like the fact the Scarlet course favors the long-hitters and a guy who can bring the ball in high. Those are two qualities I can have."

This is the first Nationwide Tour event for Snyder. According to Brown, Snyder planned to turn pro before the tournament.

Hoag is a 2007 graduate of Upper Arlington High School. In his first season at Ohio State, Hoag was a second-team all-Big Ten selection and was one of only two Buckeyes to play in all 34 rounds this season. Hoag had four top 10 finishes.

"He's improved a lot and became a lot more aggressive," Brown said. "At first, he didn't shoot at too many flags. I told him to play on the pro tour you have to shoot at the flags. He played above average in the fall and in the start of the winter and spring he took off."

That seems like a simple strategy, but the Scarlet Course will have something to say to players who test its pin placements. The par-71, 7,455-yard layout yielded only 13 of the 144 players under par in the NCHI's first season as Daniel Summerhayes won with a 6-under 278. Last season 16 players finished under par.

"Over the past two years, par is a good score on every hole," Brown said. "You look at other Nationwide Tour tournaments and they shoot 14-, 15- or 16-under to win. Here, 6-under and 5-under won. You have to respect par and not go for all the pins. If you miss, our bunkers are very deep and tough. If you short side yourself, you have to make a 10- to 12-foot putt for par."

At a glance

•What: The Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational

•Where: The Ohio State University Golf Club's Scarlet Course

•Purse: $775,000

•Defending champion: Bill Lunde

•Honorary chairperson: Jim Brown

•Schedule: The Safelite Autoglass Celebrity Pro-Am tournament starts at 1 p.m. Monday. Practice rounds for the Nationwide Tour professionals are Tuesday. Wednesday the Official Pro-Am Tournament presented by The Wall Street Journal is at 7 a.m. and 12 p.m. Tournament rounds will run approximately 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. July 30-31 and from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Aug. 1-2.

•TV coverage: The Golf Channel will have four-day coverage 6:30-8:30 p.m. from July 30-31, 6:30-9:30 p.m. on Aug. 1 and 7-9:30 p.m. on Aug. 2.

•Tickets: $10 any day tickets allow admission for any one day during tournament week, $25 for weekly grounds admission July 30-Aug. 2. Also available are a 10-pack of daily tickets for $90 or a 10-pack of weekly tickets for $200.

•On the web: Visit www.nchigolf.com or www.thepgatour.com.