Hyundai to sponsor season opener at Kapalua

Geoff Ogilvy during the 2010 PGA Tour event at Kapalua.

Geoff Ogilvy during the 2010 PGA Tour event at Kapalua.

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The SBS Championship will have a new name and sponsor for 2011, as Hyundai Motors America has agreed to take over sponsorship of the Kapalua event for the next three years.

Now called the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, it will be the first time since 1993 that the term “tournament of champions” has been used. (The season opener used to be called the Infiniti Tournament of Champions.)

SBS announced at 2009 Players Championship that it would become the title sponsor at Kapalua for the next 10 years, but after the first year of sponsorship, the company wished to exercise a provision in its agreement to sub-license its sponsorship for a period of time. SBS now will have a minor presence during the event.

Hyundai always has been on SBS’s radar, but the Korean automaker also was mentioned as a possible successor to CA for the WGC-CA Championship at Doral. But according to sources, the price tag for a WGC event – more than $12 million annually – was too hefty for Hyundai.

With only four of the 10 years of the agreement fulfilled, SBS still will be responsible for the additional six years or it may again sub-license the sponsorship to another company.

Hyundai’s sponsorship in the season opener is its second foray into professional golf. From 2000 to 2002, the Hyundai Team Matches were played at the end of the year in Southern California.

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