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Breezy Point

Local Golf
August 17, 2017

THE 2016 RYDER CUP DIRECTOR - Meet Jeff Hintz. Learn What He Does.
Jeff Hintz after an interview with KFAN's The Common Man.
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Jeff Hintz after an interview with KFAN's The Common Man.
Jeff Hintz welcoming Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III to Hazeltine surrounded by the membership.
+ click to enlarge
Jeff Hintz welcoming Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III to Hazeltine surrounded by the membership.
RJ Smiley

"I am thrilled and honored to have been chosen to lead our day-to-day efforts with the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club," said Jeff Hintz.

On November 3, 2014 Jeff Hintz was appointed Director for the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club. Hintz moved his family to Minnesota to become, what in effect is, CEO of a conglomerate - the Ryder Cup. The multifaceted organization was created to stage a three-day global entertainment event that will be broadcast to more than 500 million households worldwide.

One day later, on Monday, October 3rd, the 2016 Ryder Cup will be a fading memory. A future trivia question: Who was the 2016 Ryder Cup Director?

With virtually every ticket to the 2016 edition already sold, the irony is, no one knows who will provide the entertainment. The players on each team have not been named. "It is not about athletes and sports," Hintz stated.

Hintz, age 36 with a degree in sports marketing and business management from Indiana University, has experienced a meteoric career advancement that has boomeranged him back to Minnesota where it all began. Jeff's first golf job was an intern at the Coldwell Banker Burnet Classic in 1999 at Bunker Hills. Jeff joined the PGA of America (U.S. Ryder Cup hosts) in 2002. He gained the experience necessary to earn the Ryder Cup job working in various capacities in the PGA Championships department. In 2005 Hintz was named the administration manager for the Senior PGA Championship and the PGA Grand Slam of Golf. Immediately before moving to Minnesota for the Ryder Cup he served as Director for the 2014 Senior PGA Championship.

Jeff said, "I was happy to move my family back to Minnesota. Leah, my wife, is very understanding. We have two boys, 9 and 5 and a little girl age 3. We actually view the every two-year moves, as a great opportunity to live in and experience many different and wonderful cities. My job has allowed us to live in Indiana, New Jersey, Michigan and Florida; today, our home is Minnesota.

Authors Note: On a recent trip to Dick's Barbershop in Edina, my barber and owner, Dick told me that Jeff's dad, a former Edina resident, brought both of Jeff's boys in for a haircut and to get a feel for Edina. Jeff told me, "The boys loved the 'old time' barber shop."

As Ryder Cup Director, Jeff Hintz has become a juggler. He keeps at least 10 balls in the air at all times.

I asked Jeff to choose what he felt was the most important area of his job? He replied, "Each facet of this job is important, but security - keeping people safe, is the most important. I work with Chief Knight of the Chaska Police Department and together we coordinate the efforts of local, county and state law enforcement. We also work very closely with Homeland Security and the FBI. (People from all over the world will attend the Ryder Cup.) When you add the temporary security people who are employed by the Ryder Cup into the mix you see that security is a huge part of my job."

Jeff also works as Construction Manager. He has been working for almost two years overseeing the planning and construction of a small city at Hazeltine. The Ryder Cup will provide over two million square feet of tents, all with wooden flooring. Many of the tents are specially designed so corporations can entertain their executives and important customers in a unique style.

The Ryder Cup Shops, another of Jeff's responsibilities with 47,000 square feet of merchandising space, will be selling all things Ryder Cup. The selections range from inexpensive items to more expensive collectible. Items include logo golf balls, shirts, sweaters, jackets and hats. Patrons will have the opportunity to purchase an official Ryder Cup flag; the ones attached to the flagsticks. These flags are great items for autograph seekers. Pro athletes are more likely to sign items of value that the autograph seeker will keep. The Ryder Cup Shops will also have valuable items like crystal and artwork for fans who want a valuable lasting memory.

Note to those golf fans who do not have Ryder Cup tickets: The Ryder Cup Shops will be open to the public (no ticket necessary) Friday September 23 through Monday September 26 from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Parking is free on the grounds at Hazeltine. No bus rides! This pre-Ryder Cup event will give golf junkies a chance to participate in the action and purchase an official souvenir, proof that they were a part of the 2016 Ryder Cup.

Providing food and beverage for 40 to 50 thousand people each day is a monumental task. Jeff and his Ryder Cup staff have contracted with Levy Restaurants of Chicago to provide this very important service. The Sports and Entertainment Group within Levy Restaurants is well known for providing unique restaurant quality dining experiences at sports facilities, entertainment venues and convention centers. The company has grown the business and currently works in 30 locations in 15 markets across America. Levy will provide a variety of menu options, from lobster to hot dogs, perfect for the variety of Ryder Cup guests.

Jeff is also the General of an army of 4,000 volunteers. He has 60 lieutenants, better known as committee chairs, who will help the entire event run smoothly. Jeff is also in charge of ticket sales (mostly in the rear view mirror) and marketing and promotions, including press releases and special events.

For golf fans who want to attend something special at the Ryder Cup, Hintz has added the Captain's Challenge on Wednesday, September 28th. The event will be held at Minneapolis Golf Club for golfers to play and socialize with past captains of Ryder Cup teams. Participants receive two tickets to the International Pavilion at Hazeltine.

As director, Jeff has the ultimate responsibility involving finance and business. He works daily with Hazeltine National Golf Club and the three major providers of worldwide television coverage. Sky Sports, a huge United Kingdom based sports brand (bigger than ESPN), will provide international television coverage. In the U.S., the Golf Channel will provide coverage on Friday, September 30th and NBC will complete the coverage on Saturday and Sunday, October 1st and 2nd. It makes my head hurt to think of all the details involved.

Hintz admits that one of his biggest jobs involves community and government relations. The 2016 Ryder Cup will provide unique exposure to the diversity and beauty of the Twin Cities area and the entire state of Minnesota. Hintz and his staff have spent countless hours with representatives of the overlapping Convention and Visitors Bureaus within 50 miles of Hazeltine, plus the Minnesota Department of Tourism. While the heavy work was done months ago, details change daily and will continue to change through the event..

The job of Ryder Cup Director is much larger than most golf fans realize. All we see is the ball going into the hole and the champagne shower that follows. This statement sums up Hintz's thoughts, "I look forward to helping showcase this world-class competition in a world-class community."

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