From the Rough

Golf without discretion

Did we just witness the end of the CA Championship?

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The World Golf Championship’s event at Doral will continue without skipping a beat next year, but there’s a good chance current title sponsor, Computer Associates, won’t be around to plaster their ads all over television screens in 2011.

In what is amounting to a commonplace practice during these difficult economic times, CA could potentially be on the way out as a major tournament title sponsor after Sunday’s final round. Tim Finchem sat down to discuss the tournaments future as a whole after the final putt had dropped and while he wouldn’t confirm CA’s departure from the sport, his cryptic comments regarding CA implied that either A) he has no idea what CA is planning to do, or B) he doesn’t want to confirm the loss of another title sponsor for next year.

“We’ll be here at Doral next year and the World Golf Championships will continue,” Finchem said on Sunday. “CA is repositioning some of its marketing and making a decision now. They should have a statement here in the next week or so, either way, we are going to continue our relationship. … If they determine to step away as title sponsor of this particular tournament, the World Golf Championships, we will not have any difficulty bringing in a new sponsor. There is an awful lot of interest and this is obviously a great field, huge global exposure, a great venue, and we’ll move forward.”

Read: It really doesn’t matter if you stay, we’ll find another sponsor to replace you that’s just as good. As much as I’d like to believe Finchem’s confidence, you don’t need to look any further than the tournament formerly known as the Buick Invitational to see how difficult it is to wrangle a new sponsor.

After Buick left the golf scene for obvious reasons, Finchem was insistent that the star-studded tour field, as well as Torrey Pines’ sheer beauty, would make the tournament a perfect setting for a major title sponsor. Yet it took until 10 days before the event for the tour to land Farmers Insurance as a title sponsor. Talk about a “sure” sell.

With nine tournaments sponsor-less going into 2011, talk surrounding sponsors for next year should be the norm for the rest of this year.

I honestly don’t want to think what might happen if lesser events run into this problem, but the good news for the tour is that Doral is a big name course with a quality field (it usually includes Tiger Woods), so that should work in their favor.

Whether you want to believe it or not, this is a critical season for the tour to sell their product to potential investors. So far the quality has been less than stellar. But again, that might have something to do with TWNOG (the world’s number one golfer) missing from the tournament radar.

Hopefully his return to the game brings with it a renewed interest in the golf, as well as a wave of new title sponsors. The tour needs both more than ever before.

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Written by Jonathan Wall

03/15/2010 at 7:32 pm

Posted in Credit Crunch, PGA Tour

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