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Volume 6, Issue 76  | September 21, 2021


Take Five: Meet Paul Folino, chairman Hoag Charity Sports Foundation

By AMY SENK

The Hoag Classic – now in its 25th year – will take place March 4 through 8, bringing golfers and golf fans to the Newport Beach Country Club for “the finest stop on the PGA TOUR Champions,” according to the event’s website. The Hoag Classic, formerly known as the Toshiba Classic, also draws huge crowds and infuses the local economy with millions of dollars. I caught up with chairman Paul Folino, who has an 18 handicap and a home course in Coto de Caza, to find out more. 

Take Five Meet Paul Folino

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Paul Folino

Paul Folino, chairman Hoag Sports Foundation

Q: I understand you’ve been involved in this event since 2001. How has it changed and evolved? 

A: I started as a sponsor, when I was CEO/Chairman of Emulex Corp. We enjoyed our relationship because it was a special experience for our customers and partners, and because we believed it to be (and still believe) an important cultural, economic and charity event in this community. As we were exposed to it more and understood all that went into the event and the benefits that the event brings to the community, I got more involved “behind the scenes” trying to rally support in the community. I became chairman of Hoag Charity Sports in 2019 and am proud to take an even greater role in this wonderful community event. Over the years, the tournament has continued to grow and add programs, including our Military Appreciation Day, presented by CoreLogic and the Youth Day, presented by Kingston Technology. It really is a weeklong “golf festival” with many events and programs throughout the week.

Q: What are some of the highlights in store for this year’s tournament? We have a great field, to start. 

A: New names like Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Angel Cabrera and Tim Herron join us for the first time. Additionally, Fred Couples, John Daly, Vijay Singh, Mark O’Meara, Corey Pavin and many other great names will be here to entertain our fans.

Q: The event isn’t only for golf fans – there’s an enormous chartable element as well. Can you tell me more about that? 

A: The tournament has raised over $21,000,000 for Hoag and other charities over the past 21 years. The tournament was the first PGA Tour Champions tournament to ever raise over a million dollars in a single year from net proceeds, and did it a few times before any other Champions Tour event matched it. Charity is our hallmark and what this tournament is all about.

Q: As chairman of this event, tell me about what goes into your job – is it a year-round effort? What is a typical day like during the classic? What are the perks?

A: Actually, I’m Chairman of the Hoag Sports Foundation Board, which puts on the tournament, and we meet every quarter as a full board and as needed during the tournament preparation months just before the event. During the classic itself, I get opportunities to attend many social events in support of the tournament; play in the pro-am golf events; participate in the Military Appreciation Day where we recognize and support military heroes and families; and entertain friends and colleagues along the way on each day of the tournament.

Q: What is the craziest thing that ever happened during a Hoag Classic – or a Toshiba Senior Classic when it was called that?

A: For me personally, the craziest thing to happen to me was when I was playing in the pro-am years ago with Hall of Famer, Gary Player. We both teed off at the No. 1 hole in front of a large gallery with the amateurs teeing off first, and then Gary hit a ball that landed right next to me on the fairway. We both rode out to the balls, and it appeared that I had out-drove Gary as his caddy pointed him to what he thought was Gary’s ball. So, he hit first and put it right next to the pin. And as I started walking to the next ball, I quickly realized that it wasn’t my ball at all, but Gary’s. So long story short, Gary had to take a penalty stroke, which according to him was the first time in his career that he had to take a stroke for hitting the wrong ball. And he ragged on his caddy and the rest of us for the rest of the day! It was pretty crazy. 

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Amy Senk is a longtime resident of Corona del Mar and a regular contributor to Stu News Newport.

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