The Viking Classic, played last September at the Annandale Country Club in Madison, was named winner of the "Best Special Event" by the PGA Tour at the organization's annual Tournament Advisory Council (TAC) meeting in Ponte Verde Beach, Fla.

Three Emeril Lagasse Cooking Demonstration-Fundraisers to support the Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children were key to the honor.

"I am thrilled to receive...the award," Randy Watkins, the Viking Classic tournament director, said. "The Viking brand as title sponsor has helped elevate the stature of the event each year and the ability to get Emeril involved with the tournament was significant.

"Emeril didn't just show up for a few hours," Watkins said. "He was there for three days, played in the pro-am and through his cooking demonstrations, we were able to showcase the event and the community, raising significant funds for the Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children."

The events raised more than $50,000.

"The tournament committee should be extremely proud for being acknowledged as the best among its peers on Tour," PGA Tour executive vice president Andy Pazder said.

Bill Haas won the 43rd annual event.

Plans for the 2011 Viking Classic are already under way with a significant date change that moves the state's only professional sporting event from the fall to a July 11-17 date on the official PGA Tour. While the new date is opposite the British Open, Viking officials are pleased the tournament will not have to compete with high school and college football.