Hyundai Tour won't happen, source says

Steve Stricker reacts to winning the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at the Plantation Course on Jan. 9, 2012 in Kapalua, Hawaii.

Steve Stricker reacts to winning the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at the Plantation Course on Jan. 9, 2012 in Kapalua, Hawaii.

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MARANA, Ariz. – The PGA Tour’s quest for an umbrella sponsor for the Nationwide Tour will continue after Hyundai declined a proposal, according to a source close to the negotiations.

Just weeks ago, it was widely reported that the Korean auto manufacturer, title sponsor of the PGA Tour’s season-opening Tournament of Champions at Kapalua, was close to signing a $100 million deal to have its name on the developmental tour. Hyundai reportedly would have extended its title sponsorship of the T of C for four years, become the official car of the PGA Tour and added umbrella sponsorship of the Nationwide Tour after the Columbus, Ohio-based insurer’s contract expires at the end of the 2012 season.

However, Hyundai, to borrow a car-shopping analogy, never got as far as the test drive, according to a source.

“Hyundai is not going to pursue the Nationwide Tour,” the source said. “They were considering it but never got to the point of more than kicking the tires.”

Hyundai representatives were pitched the proposal at Kapalua in early January and took the next month to review it, the source said. Ultimately, Hyundai officials thought that sponsorship of the Nationwide Tour, estimated to cost $12 million to $14 million annually, was not a good marketing fit.

Ty Votaw, the PGA Tour’s executive vice president, would not comment.

If an umbrella sponsor is not signed, Tour player Tom Pernice Jr., a former Policy Board member, said the Tour would fund the developmental tour in 2013 and beyond.

“The Tour would rather not to have to fund it,” Pernice said. “It’s a proving ground for here -- if you will, the minor leagues -- and if it has to be, I think the Tour would have to.”

Hyundai reportedly will decide by May whether to extend its Tournament of Champions title sponsorship, which ends after the January 2013 event.

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