From the Rough

Golf without discretion

General Motors set to end relationship with Michigan tour stop; what next for Buick Open?

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It’s been a long, hard year for General Motors since the company filed for bankruptcy on June 2, 2009, thereby ending their run as one of the giants of the American auto industry. With the end of their reign came the closing of dozens of facilities and 20,000+ job losses. Needless to say, things have been pretty rough for GM.

Bankruptcy does a lot of things to a company; more importantly, it forces said company to look at their balance sheet and see what isn’t needed for the future. And while the PGA Tour was hoping GM would keep their long-standing relationship with the Tour, it looks like the relationship with at least one of their stops on the golf schedule is about to come to an end, as GM appears to be on the verge of opting out of their Buick Open sponsorship for next year.

We mentioned last week that GM was already considering their options for next year’s Michigan event. Now it looks like the wait-and-see game between GM and Tim Finchem will is over before it even began.

Here’s the report via the Detroit Free Press:

The Detroit automaker Sunday confirmed it is evaluating its sponsorship of the Michigan PGA Tour golf tournament after emerging from bankruptcy this month.

Golfweek.com has reported that Buick is pulling out of its deal with the tournament, which begins Thursday, and that a new sponsor and venue would be announced during the week of Aug. 3.

“We are looking at all of our sponsorships, but we haven’t made a decision about the Buick Open and won’t do so until sometime after this week’s tournament,” Tom Pyden, a GM spokesman, told the Free Press on Sunday by e-mail.

It’ll be tough to see one the better tour stops disappear next year. We can only hope that Finchem and a search committee can find a new course and sponsor to keep the event in a state that’s been ravaged by the economic slump.

“Buick doesn’t have the finances; GM can’t afford it,” Tom Pernice Jr., a member of the PGA Player Advisory Council, told Golfweek. “From a perception standpoint, you can’t lay off all those people and then sponsor a golf tournament.”

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Written by Jonathan Wall

07/27/2009 at 6:08 pm

Posted in Buick Open, PGA Tour

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