Buick Open’s future remains cloudy amidst economic uncertainty
The tournament is one of the best on tour each year, constantly bringing in quality fields to Grand Blanc, Michigan, for a tournament that’s been a staple for most players since it was first established in 1958. But like the LPGA’s farewell to the Corning Classic, this year’s Buick Open could be taking a final victory lap before it disappears into the economic oblivion.
It’s tough to tell at the moment where the Buick event goes from here, but based on quotes coming from an article today in the Detroit News, it looks like the event — like many who have sponsorship deals with some of America’s biggest car manufacturers — could be on the ropes.
The future after next week’s event appears to be up in the air after comments from Buick’s national promotions manager and the general manager at Warwick Hills left many golf fans in the state in the dark.
“What we’re focused on is putting on a world-class event in 2009,” said Larry Peck, national promotions manager for Buick.
“Everything else is a work in progress. We’re not thinking about that right now or commenting on it.”
Focusing on the 2009 event is great, but with 20 sponsors up for renewal after 2010, you’ve got to wonder if Buick will be one the sponsors coming back to the Tour table, or if they’ll decide to walk and save the millions. Based on their current bankruptcy status, one would assume GM won’t be coming back next year – but then again, you never know.
The cloak and dagger by Buick and Warwick Hills leaves me to believe that this could go down one of two ways: they’ll either make an announcement here in the coming months about the end of GM’s sponsorship, which will then send the tournament committee and the Tour on a mission to find a local sponsor willing to shell out big bucks. Or GM will look past the obvious (that they’re starting fresh as a company and shouldn’t be spending money on tournaments) and renew for the future.
The former would be my choice. But I guess anything’s possible in these economic times.