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No fantasy: Doyle builds golf game

READY FOR ACTION — Sean Doyle, a Buckeye Local High School graduate, is making inroads with his creation, “The Original Golf Game … Fantasy Golf.” -- Contributed

COLUMBUS — Sean Doyle was working at Augusta National Golf Club in 2002 when he and some of his co-workers were looking for a different way to enjoy golf tournaments throughout the PGA season.

Similar to what’s been a long-standing tradition in football, baseball and basketball, a fantasy golf game was the plan.

“It was just a fun, office pool type thing within our company back then,” Doyle said.

Fast forwarding to the present and though Doyle – who is a Buckeye Local graduate and former Division I wrestler at Cornell — is back in the Ohio Valley, fantasy golf is still a major part of his life.

Actually, it’s growing to the point where Doyle is now using the game to benefit others.

“I love what we have built and I’ve had so many people tell me that this was the best sports pool they played in all year,” Doyle said. “I was driven by the chance to license it and make it bigger.”

That’s exactly what Doyle did. He went to the state of Ohio and actually became the first fantasy game to earn a license. His game preceded the more national brands of Fan Duel, Draft Kings and Yahoo Sports.

Now, fully licensed in Ohio and able to operate in 39 states, Doyle and his “The Original Golf Game … Fantasy Golf” has partnered with The 2nd and 7 Foundation, which is based in Central Ohio and has a mission “to promote reading by providing free books and positive role models to kids in need while encouraging young athletes of the community to pay it forward.”

With 2nd and 7 in Central Ohio, it and Doyle decided to focus on this week’s Memorial Tournament at Dublin’s Muirfield Village Golf Club as its prominent event.

“The Memorial is the biggest golf tournament on the schedule since golf resumed following the pandemic,” Doyle said. “The people are really excited for the event.”

When Doyle was the head wrestling coach at Wheeling Jesuit University, he actually connected to 2nd and 7 because it was trying to become more involved with schools in Eastern and Southeastern Ohio.

He’d continued to follow the foundation, which was founded in 1999 by former Ohio State football players Ryan Miller, Mike Vrabel and Luke Fickell.

“There are so many fundraising organizations out there that, because of COVID, have had a difficult time hosting on-site events,” Doyle allowed. “Second and 7 was being creative and it really aligned well because it has hosted some golf events and has athletes in the organization. They were excited and it’s really turned into a nice partnership.”

“We at the 2nd and 7 Foundation are very excited about the partnership with The OG GolfGame,” foundation development director Stephanie Frey said in a statement. “We are hoping to create awareness and support of our mission while creating a fun way to watch The Memorial!”

According to Frey, since mid-March, 2nd and 7, has distributed more than 20,000 books to children through a variety of ways.

While this is the first time Doyle and fantasy golf have teamed with 2nd and 7, it’s by no means the first time the game has given back to the community.

During the course of the last seven to eight years, the game has generated upward of $25,000 for charitable organizations, while focusing on strictly the four major golf tournaments.

“Realizing that we may be able to help organizations at a bigger level really got all of my energy,” Doyle said. “I am excited about where we are and where we’re heading. I am really excited to continue to try to help organizations fulfill their missions.”

The entry fee is $40 with a portion of each entry going to The 2nd and 7 Foundation. Through the current World Golf Rankings, each pro player is positioned into a tier and the fantasy player selects one golfer from the top tier, which is the top ranked players and then formulates the rest of its 10-player roster throughout the rest of the groups.

The top five scores — for the entire tournament — are counted. Each player needs five golfers to make the cut to remain alive in the event.

“We’re projecting the winner’s share of this weekend’s event will be in the range of $1,000, so it’s a fun way to enjoy a golf tournament,” Doyle said.

Entries are still open until the opening tee time Thursday morning. For information, or to play, visit fantasygolfsog.com

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