Wednesday, March 5, 2008

No Joke, Tampa Could Lose PGA Tour Event

A lot of the talk surrounding the PODS Championship this week is about the fact that PODS has already bowed out as sponsor of next year's event. Palm Beach Post stalwart Craig Dolch writes on the subject and shows that the event is not getting much support from Ponte Vedra.

The PGA Tour has made it clear it won’t step in and bail out this event. “If there’s not a sponsor next year,” PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said last week, “there won’t be an event.”
The rub is that - often times - a tournament sponsor is a locally based corporation. Tampa simply does not have that many that would be willing to sponsor an event for $8 million/year.
Tampa is a great sports town, but it doesn’t have a lot of major corporations with pockets deep enough to spend about $8 million a year on a golf event. The best choice would be Outback Steakhouse, but owner Chris Sullivan is content with their pro-am tournament on the Champions Tour.
Very telling that the Tour doesn't really want to bail out this event. I find it interesting that the Tour does not want to help out an event at Innisbrook - a course the players seem to love - versus propping up events to be held at TPC courses. That is especially interesting considering a recent Golfweek story that quoted TPC officials as saying that their priorities for TPCs is making sure they host an event in the PGA Tour umbrella.

Conflicting priorities, maybe?
“Every TPC we will do going forward is either built or operated with the idea that ultimately it’s going to host competitive golf on one of (our) three tours,” Pillsbury said. “That’s the core purpose of the brand.”
With a Tampa event out of the way, perhaps the newly pimped AT&T Oaks and Canyons Courses at TPC San Antonio can host an event in 2010?

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