PGA Championship

Valhalla Golf Club

The Loop

Bucking the recession

January 14, 2010

Should the PGA Tour finalize an agreement to bring a Fall Series tournament to Sea Island, Ga., as it apparently is on the brink of doing, it would qualify as impressive on two fronts.

First, finding sponsors in this difficult economy has proven problematical for the PGA Tour. Two tour events this month alone are proceeding without one -- the Bob Hope Classic and the San Diego Open. Yet the accounting and tax firm RSM McGladrey, according to this report from Golf World contributor Dave Shedloski, is prepared to step up and sponsor the Sea Island event.

Then there's this: The Sea in Sea Island represents a sea of red ink these days. Bill Jones III, the chairman and CEO of the Sea Island Company in St. Simons Island, Ga., "is scrambling to keep Sea Island Co. afloat," BusinessWeek wrote last month in a story headlined, "How Sea Island Became a Paradise Lost." The story noted that it is attempting "to avert foreclosure on about $150 million in loans.

"With a $35 million payment due by the end of January," the story said, "Jones is trying to rid himself of several properties and sell equity in the Cloister resort. Sea Island Co. has fired more than 400 workers, or 20% of its staff, in the past two years."

Among the suitors: Herb Kohler Jr., the founder of Whistling Straits.

-- John Strege