What's in a name? Tour stops such as the Travelers have gone by many
Recent fans to pro golf may benefit from the fact they aren’t familiar with all the tour titles that veteran observers have cycled through. Take the San Diego Open for instance. If you’re old enough to know it when it started with that moniker in 1952, you are now on the 13th name for the tour stop. It’s been the Farmers Insurance Open since 2010, so recent golf fans have only had to recall one name to associate the tour with San Diego.
This week’s PGA Tour event near Hartford is on its eighth name, the Travelers Championship. This year is the 50th playing of the Hartford event with a name other than its original, which was the Insurance City Open. It was the ICO for 15 years, then the Greater Hartford Open Invitational (six), Sammy Davis Jr. Greater Hartford Open (12), Canon Sammy Davis Jr. Greater Hartford Open (four), Canon Greater Hartford Open (14), Greater Hartford Open (one), Buick Championship (three) and now the 10th year as the Travelers.
The years when tour events were known by their location—Los Angeles, San Diego, Dallas, Colonial—are long gone, swallowed up by corporate titles to aid in sponsor dollars. Traditionalists can bemoan it—and still call a tour event the L.A. Open if they want—but the old titles aren’t coming back. According to the PGA Tour media guide, of the non-major tour events on this year’s schedule, the San Diego/Farmers Insurance Open leads with the most titles at 13. Next are the Shell Houston Open and Valero Open with 11 each, the Zurich Classic with 10 and the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard, FedEx St. Jude Classic, the BMW Championship, the Tour Championship by Coca-Cola and the RBC Heritage with nine each. The tour event with the longest span using its current name is the Honda Classic, so named since 1984. Yet it’s on its sixth name since starting in 1972 as Jackie Gleason’s Inverrary Classic.
The only tour events using their original name? Well, it’s a a couple of newcomers: The Greenbrier Classic since 2010 and the Barbasol Championship since 2015.