How a jazz drummer helped get Wisconsin-based Sentry to Maui

KAPALUA, HAWAII (AP) — The PGA Tour celebrated the start of a new year by announcing Wisconsin-based Sentry Insurance, in only its third year as title sponsor at Kapalua, had agreed to a 10-year extension through 2030.

How a 115-year-old company from the heart of Wisconsin, with no history of national advertising, wound up in Maui was curious enough for Kevin Kisner to ask a most simple question at a players’ dinner last Saturday night.

How did we find these guys?

The response from PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan was not what he would have expected.

“Because Ken plays the drums,” he said.

That would be Ken Tackett, who took his own curious route to become a rules official for the PGA Tour.

Tackett, who earned a degree in jazz studies from the University of North Florida, played in various bands before landing a gig as a drummer for the Noel Freidline Quintet in 1996, playing the Las Vegas scene.

When he started a family, he took a job with the West Virginia Golf Association, rising to executive director until he went to work for the PGA Tour. But he still plays, because jazz is in his blood. And he remains a big believer in relationships.

“Anything can spawn out of a relationship,” Tackett said last Sunday during the final round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions.