Pro Links' 11th-hour deal saved Tampa Tour stop

No. 3 on the Copperhead Course.

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They are painting the town red in Tampa. On Sept. 6, the PGA Tour announced that Valspar Corp., a leader in the paint and coatings industry, has signed a four-year deal to be the title sponsor of the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort, the longtime home of Tampa’s Tour stop.

Hollis Cavner, chief executive officer of Pro Links Sports, orchestrated the deal with Valspar, a longtime client, the PGA Tour and Copperhead Charities, the tournament host organization, which has donated more than $30 million to local charities since 1978.

“We literally put this deal together in a month, which is unheard of,” Cavner said of the effort to beat a Sept. 3 deadline.

But there was one caveat: Valspar required Pro Links Sports, which operates six events on the Champions Tour, to oversee the tournament. As a result, Cavner has been named executive director of the Valspar Championship, which will be played March 13-16, the third event of the four-week Florida swing. Cavner, best known for carving out a niche on the Champions Tour, previously served as director of operations at the U.S. Open from 1989 to ‘91. Kevin Krisle has been retained as tournament director and has become an employee of Pro Links Sports, along with the rest of his team.

This is a significant increase in Valspar’s commitment to sports marketing. Through its relationship with Pro Links, Valspar has been a major sponsor of the Champions Tour’s 3M Championship since 2002, and also supports the Minnesota PGA Junior Golf Association.

“This is a perfect fit for Valspar to come in and be on a national and global stage,” Cavner said.

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