Colonial tournament about golf, and giving

Jordan Spieth tees off on the 1st hole Thursday.
Jordan Spieth tees off on the 1st hole Thursday. Star-Telegram

The real payoff from Fort Worth’s annual pro golf tournament comes in December.

That’s when $9 million or more is awarded to more than 60 charities, helping children and families across Texas share in the 70-year success of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.

“The Colonial” is a cherished keepsake for both Fort Worth and the PGA Tour. It is the oldest and longest-standing tournament in pro golf played at the original location, on a course where today’s stars pay homage to the spirit of the late Ben Hogan.

But the Colonial is not only about history.

This goes unknown and under-appreciated, even locally, but the little golf tournament in Fort Worth is one of the three biggest charity benefits on the PGA Tour.

In the last 20 years, golfers and givers have raised more than $70 million for local causes, including $8 million just for the tournament’s first and largest beneficiary, Cook Children’s Medical Center.

If you can’t afford the $50 tickets sold online or at Albertsons or Tom Thumb stores, help by watching the telecasts Friday on the Golf Channel and Saturday and Sunday on CBS (KTVT/Channel 11).

This tournament ends a happy nine-year partnership with Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts. As sponsorships change across pro sports, the local tournament needs good attendance and TV ratings to go along with its stellar record of charity work.

Fort Worth should never take Colonial’s generous gifts for granted.