Memorial Tournament

Muirfield Village Golf Club

The Loop

The gravy train derailing

January 29, 2009

The news that Ginn Resorts has canceled its sponsorship of the LPGA Ginn Open and the Champions Tour Ginn Championship is probably a harbinger of a host of sponsorship problems in professional golf.

A quick check of the financial health of Friedman Billings Ramsey Group Inc., for instance, reveals that its stock, which was trading as high as $3.68 a share last year, closed on Thursday at just under 19 cents a share. It lost $169 million in the third quarter of 2008. FBR is the title sponsor of the FBR Open this week in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The Arizona Republic reported that FBR, a real estate investment trust (REIT), is committed to honoring its agreement to sponsor the event through 2012, notwithstanding its financial issues.

But for FBR and other tour sponsors, it promises to be a turbulent ride.

-- John Strege