Viking Classic extended through 2011

The PGA Tour can chalk one more tournament off its list of those still in need of a title sponsor for next season (10 events are still looking for new sponsors or trying to renew existing ones). The Viking Classic announced during its Aug. 23 media day that it will return in 2011.

Viking Classic executive director Randy Watkins saidannounced the purse of the Fall Series event will remain $3.6 million.

The deal was finalized Aug. 21.

Said Watkins, "I slept better this weekend than I have in months."

“We promised four years of golf, and we're going to deliver four years of golf,” said Dale Persons, Viking’s vice president for public affairs. “It’s good for Mississippi and it’s good for us.”

This year (Sept. 30-Oct. 1) was scheduled to be Viking’s fourth year as title sponsor, but rain washed out last year’s event.

“Our defending champion, Mother Nature, couldn't be here today,” Watkins joked. “She shot a record 22 inches of rain last year.”

While the news for next year is reason for cheer, the tournament’s future beyond 2011 remains up in the air.

Rick Cleveland of the Clarion Ledger wrote: “Viking, which manufactures high-end kitchen appliances, has seen orders decline by half since peaking in 2007, forcing some difficult company decisions (read: layoffs).”

Time will tell whether Viking is in it for the long haul.

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