Simmons Bank announces golf sponsorship of native Arkansan Ken Duke

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 417 views 

Ken Duke current official PGA TOUR headshot. (Photo by Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)

Pine Bluff-based Simmons Bank announced Friday (Oct. 15) it has signed a multiyear sponsorship agreement with PGA Tour Champions professional golfer Ken Duke.

Duke joins fellow Simmons Bank brand ambassadors Dawson Armstrong, Kevin Dougherty, Braden Thornberry and 2021 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year and Masters sensation Will Zalatoris.

“Simmons Bank is proud to have Ken join as our newest brand ambassador,” George Makris, Jr. chairman and CEO of Simmons Bank, said in a statement. “Ken’s talent, tenacious work ethic and charitable work in the community make him a natural fit for Team Simmons Bank.”

Duke, 52, is a Hope native, former All-American at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia and a 2013 inductee into the Arkansas Golf Hall of Fame.

He has competed professionally around the world since turning professional in 1994 and won the 2013 Travelers Championship for his lone PGA Tour victory. Duke posted three top-10 finishes last year on the PGA Tour Champions.

As a seventh-grader, Duke was diagnosed with scoliosis. The curvature of his spine reached 51%, prompting lifesaving surgery at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock. Following a recovery, Duke returned to his high school golf team in Arkadelphia. While playing in a back brace, he won medalist honors at the district tournament. In 2009, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences established The Ken Duke Endowed Chair in Scoliosis to treat spinal deformities, tumors and fractures.

Duke and his former Reddie teammates established the Ken Duke Golf Center, a state-of-the-art, on-campus training facility at Henderson State in Arkadelphia.

Duke, who lives in Florida, established the Ken Duke & Friend Celebrity Pro-Am in 2016. To date, the organization has provided more than $500,000 to a variety of non-profits including Folds of Honor, First Tee Treasure Coast and Project LIFT. Simmons Bank will serve as a sponsor of the Ken Duke & Friends Pro-Am in 2021.