Skins Game still looking for sponsor

(left to right) Stephen Ames, Fred Couples, Zach Johnson and Brett Wetterich before the start of the final round of the 2007 LG Skins Game.

Golf fans once again may have to find alternative programming to watch when they eat their Thanksgiving leftovers. Golfweek has learned that little progress has been made in the search for a sponsor of The Skins Game, casting the future of the made-for-TV event in doubt.

“We’re still working on finding a sponsor,” wrote Barry Frank, executive vice president of IMG Media, in an email.

The event has been sponsorless since Korean-based LG electronics company elected not to renew its three-year deal last year. Thirteen months ago, event partners ESPN, IMG Media and the city of Indian Wells announced that after 26 years, the Thanksgiving weekend tradition would go on a one-year hiatus.

“The Skins Game has enjoyed a long and successful history, and it will continue to be an important part of golf’s fall season in the future, but given the current economic climate, postponing the 2009 event was necessary,” Frank said at the time. “We look forward to working with key partners over the coming months to ensure the Skins Game comes back next year in a manner befitting one of golf’s great traditions.”

Chances of a return this holiday season are in jeopardy unless a sponsor is signed soon. Frank noted that a deadline to land a sponsor hasn’t yet been set.

The Skins Game gave birth to the “Silly Season” and two of its direct offspring live on. The two-day Telus Skins Game, held last week in British Columbia, featured Ian Poulter, Retief Goosen, Fred Couples, Camilo Villegas, and Mike Weir, who won $270,000.

Frank also confirmed that the Senior Skins Game, which was played in January and won by the team of Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson, would return in 2011. However, Frank noted that a new sponsor would replace Wendy’s, whose title sponsorship expired this year. Frank said he wasn’t at liberty to announce the company at this time.

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