This would appear to be the end of the road for one of longest running events on the PGA Tour. It’s been a shade under a year since I first chronicled The Heritage’s tournament plight, and the tournament has still failed to secure a tournament sponsor for this year’s event, leading many to believe this is going to be the last tour stop at the famed Harbour Town Golf Links.
After today’s Associated Press story, it would appear the situation is far from positive, after Ty Votaw gave the tournament an ultimatum: find a sponsor for 2012 or risk losing your event. (The The Heritage is going sponsor-less this year for the first time since 1986.)
Tournament director Steve Wilmot said it would cost about $7.6 million for a company to underwrite the event.
Votaw and Wilmot spoke Monday at the Heritage’s gathering in advance of the tournament, which will be played from April 21-24.
While commissioner Tim Finchem and the rest of the Ponte Vedra brass continue to tell everyone that the PGA Tour is positioned to succeed in the future, it doesn’t take much to find some chinks in the armor. The Heritage isn’t a major tour stop like Doral or Torrey Pines, two events that had to look for new title sponsors in the last year, but it’s one that’s been a staple on the schedule.
It’s a damn shame to see one of the tour’s oldest stops fall by the wayside, but it looks like there’s not much else they can do at the moment. There had been talk of the South Carolina legislature helping the tournament out with a $10 million lifeline in 2011; however, you can’t expect the state to help the tournament out on a yearly basis.
Without a title sponsor for this year and in 2012, it looks like the tour will have a gigantic hole to fill on its schedule.