PGA Championship

Valhalla Golf Club

The Loop

The PGA Tour's sponsorship woes, cont'd

December 08, 2009

The Savannah Morning News has a story today detailing the difficulty that the Heritage Classic Foundation is having finding a sponsor to replace Verizon beyond 2010, despite what ought to be a "slam dunk," as Simon Fraser, chairman of the foundation, called it.

It features a great venue (Harbour Town Golf Links at Hilton Head, S.C.) and a Hall of Fame history of winners that include Arnold Palmer, Johnny Miller, Jack Nicklaus, Hale Irwin, Tom Watson, Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer, Greg Norman, Payne Stewart and Nick Price.

"You'd think it would be a slam dunk," Fraser told the newspaper. "But there's a public perception out there right now, at a time when corporations are struggling and laying off people, that they shouldn't be spending millions to sponsor golf tournaments. It's a challenge. A big challenge."

It's probably no consolation that his tournament is not alone in this regard. Several other high-profile events with long and storied histories are searching for sponsorship money. The Bob Hope Classic and San Diego Open are moving ahead without sponsors for 2010, while the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial is in the same situation as the Heritage -- in search of a sponsor beyond 2010.

-- John Strege