COURSE BOUND WITH JULIE TYSON
Athleisure Mag|June 2021
On Aug 16th - 22nd, THE NORTHERN TRUST golf tournament will be back at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, NJ. We attended back in 2019 and in anticipation of the upcoming event, we wanted to find out more about this tournament, its importance in the golf season and how it benefits its communities. Julie Tyson is the Executive Director of the PGA TOUR of THE NORTHERN TRUST. She shared her career journey, how she came to working in the golf industry, her approach to putting on one of golf's biggest tournaments as well as how she balances a myriad of schedules.

ATHLEISURE MAG: Back in 2019, we had the opportunity to go to THE NORTHERN TRUST and had an amazing time there so it’s so great to find out more about this tournament and your role in it. I’m also excited to chat with you as we are fellow alumnae at Indiana University so it’s always nice to connect with people from there!

JULIE TYSON: You are! You’re a Hoosier?

AM: I am and I was impressed that you were a founding member of the IU Dance Marathon on campus as I enjoyed going to that and raising awareness!

JT: That’s amazing and so cool! I’m on this sports board that they have now at IU and we had a board call last week and it’s like a who’s who of sports. I was listening on the call and I thought, “gosh Indiana turns out some really talented people!”

AM: Without a doubt!

JT: Well you included!

AM: Well thank you!

JT: You have quite a business!

AM: Thank you for saying that! It’s been an incredible journey and even in this time of the pandemic, we were really able to take stock to optimize what we’re doing while working on some really amazing things that will be launching soon! You know, in doing this magazine, we talk to so many people across a number of verticals and a number of them have come from IU and it always makes me think of just how phenomenal of a school it is and how far their arms reach! I’m from Indiana originally so I always wanted to go there, but looking at it from where I am now, seeing all the people that come through there it truly is incredible.

JT: I have 2 older brothers and I’m from Chicago originally and they went to school there during the Bobby Knight era.

AM: Same!

JT: And just like you, but for a different reason, we really wanted to go to Indiana University badly. I remember my first footsteps onto the campus, I had a couple of those pinch-me moments like, “I can’t even believe that I’m here!” It’s such a cool experience.

AM: I loved it so much that after my freshman year, I became an Orientation Leader there every summer for the incoming students that were coming in! I’m still friends with a number of the people from those teams as well as students that I oriented. Bobby’s last year was my senior year, but my memories there were truly incredible and anytime I get to talk to others that went there, I know that it’s good people.

JT: Awww me too. I agree completely.

AM: Exactly. You have worked in this industry for a number of years. What is your background and what led you to working in sports and specifically to the golf industry?

JT: I was in media sales for a long time out of Chicago and I remember very distinctly boarding a plane and it was one of those really small 19 seat planes and I was in Michigan and it was in Feb. and I thought that it was freezing cold and dark and I need to do something different. I started to think about what would be next for me and I thought that being an agent would be interesting and fun. So my easiest path in I thought would be women’s sports to become an agent. I thought that I didn’t want to travel all over the globe at that stage in my life so that eliminated tennis because they were playing a lot of their events globally and I thought that golf would be an interesting thing because it was very well established and sort of fit with the lifestyle of not being in freezing cold Michigan weather.

So I reached out to the Vice President of Business Affairs at that time and said, “If you ever need help with your television, I’d love to help.” We got through a bunch of conversations and lo and behold he became the Commissioner of the LPGA, a guy named Ty Votaw. So I went to go work with the LPGA initially and worked there for a long time. It’s a very entrepreneurial setting where if you can dream it, you can do it. I loved my first foray into golf through the LPGA and then my career progressed and I ended up working at the PGA TOUR first in Account Management and then in Global Sales. Then, in 2017, my path led me to a counterpart and a friend that had become the head of our Championship managed event that we own and operate a portfolio of events and he asked if I ever wanted to come and run a tournament within this group of events? That began my event management experience was in 2017. THE NORTHERN TRUST happened to be moving from LA to NY so it was a perfect time for me because I got a new title, we were playing new venues and so everything was new. I didn’t walk into a big legacy really even though this event has been played in and around this area for over 50 years!

AM: That is quite a journey. Before we get into THE NORTHERN TRUST, can you tell me about your role at the PGA and what your day-to-day is like?

JT: So, I’m the Executive Director which means that literally if you think about it like a CEO of a small business, every aspect of the event rolls up through me whether it's client relations, whether it's operations, local relationships with the city or the state – putting on an event like this you have to let everybody know you’re coming to town and make the appropriate accommodations, marketing, HR, everything under the sun. Now the great part about this is that if you think about it like a franchisee, I have the PGA TOUR in the backdrop that we’re owned and operated and I have those resources that I can tap into on a daily basis. But we’re pretty much in NY running our own show up here.

AM: As you mentioned, THE NORTHERN TRUST is over 50 years old, can you tell us about this tournament which is the first of 3 FedExCup Playoffs events? What makes this such an important event?

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