PLAYERS Director Leaves for Augusta

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The executive director of THE PLAYERS Championship is taking a new job at Augusta National, leading to a series of job changes at the PGA TOUR affecting key positions in tour operations and the Champions Tour.
 
It is a tribute to the incredible bench strength of our executive team that we can quickly assign responsibilities when opportunities for change are created, PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem said Wednesday in announcing the changes.
 
Ron Cross was in his first year in charge of THE PLAYERS Championship, the TOURs marquee event that will be held in two weeks. He leaves June 1 to become director of corporate affairs at Augusta National, where he will be reunited with Masters chairman Billy Payne.
 
Cross, who spent 19 years at the TOUR, was director of the TOUR Championship at East Lake when Payne was the volunteer chairman.
 
Henry Hughes, chief of operations for the PGA TOUR, has been appointed CEO of THE PLAYERS Championship and will lead the search for a new executive director of the tournament. Hughes, who recovered from heart bypass surgery over the holidays, had been responsible for policy, competition and tournament affairs.
 
Henry and I have been discussing a succession plan for the PGA TOUR for some time, Finchem said. With Ron Cross departure we saw an opportunity to execute an effective change in the management of The Players and maintain Henrys key position as a member of the executive committee.
 
Hughes will be replaced as chief of operations by Rick George, who had been president of the Champions Tour and executive vice president of Championship Management, which runs the tours biggest events.
 
Mike Stevens will become president of the 50-and-over Champions Tour, and David Pillsbury will be in charge of Championship Management. Pillsbury will remain as president of PGA TOUR Golf Course Properties.
 
The changes are effective June 1.
 
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