Tour close to securing sponsor for Doral
PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem promised in March that the World Golf Championships would return to Doral despite the loss of the event’s title sponsor.
He may be close to keeping his word.
Discussions are progressing between the Tour and Hyundai to make the Korean automaker title sponsor of the WGC event at Doral’s TPC Blue Monster, near Miami, Golfweek has learned.
A replacement became necessary when CA Technologies, an IT management and software solutions company, declined to renew its option following a four-year deal that concluded this year.
Sources say the Tour and Hyundai executives have been talking for several months.
Jim Trainor, a spokesman for Hyundai Motors of America, said the company has not signed a sponsorship deal. However, he said Hyundai’s parent company could be involved in such an agreement without the U.S. subsidiary’s knowledge.
Efforts to reach sponsorship officials at the Tour and tournament organizers were unsuccessful.
Hyundai’s interest in the WGC event wouldn’t be the company’s first overture toward the Tour. Previously, Golfweek reported that the automaker considered sponsoring the Tour’s San Diego tournament, but failed to reach an agreement. The company also hosted the now-defunct Hyundai Team Matches, an unofficial event featuring players from the PGA Tour, Champions Tour and LPGA.
If Hyundai comes on board, it will become the Tour’s third automotive title sponsor; the others are Honda and BMW.
Hyundai’s signing would be a welcome addition, considering the Tour still has several sponsorship issues to address. Among them:
• The Bob Hope Classic, Verizon Heritage and the St. Jude Classic all lack a title sponsor.
• The Memorial’s presenting sponsor, Morgan Stanley, reportedly may step away.
• In June, Swiss bank UBS bowed out as a “proud partner” of The Players Championship.
• The Reno-Tahoe Open was played this week without a title sponsor, and Viking Range Corp., title sponsor of the Viking Classic, hasn’t announced whether it will renew its sponsorship of the Fall Finish event.