The Forecaddie: Houston Open still searching for sponsor in 1st post-Harvey playing

The Forecaddie: Houston Open still searching for sponsor in 1st post-Harvey playing

Forecaddie

The Forecaddie: Houston Open still searching for sponsor in 1st post-Harvey playing

Less than two months from the PGA Tour’s return to Houston post-Hurricane Harvey, The Forecaddie senses the 71-year-old event could be without a sponsor in 2017. While a wise corporate angel could appear last minute, the tournament run by the Houston Golf Association is listed as its original Houston Open name. According to a recent new release, the event will be receiving financial “support” from the PGA Tour.

A Man Out Front request for just how much Ponte Vedra support was expected was denied, nicely.

How did such an important tournament get to this point after losing longtime sponsor Shell?

Given the tournament’s prime date a week before The Masters and the tournament serving as a model community treasure, The Forecaddie is befuddled at the inability to land corporate support.

“We feel we are uniquely positioned with our commitment to the community through all of our golf initiatives i.e. junior golf, First Tee and municipal golf course restoration,” said tournament director, Houston Golf Association CEO Steve Timms. “The event is an important part of the community on many levels especially post-Hurricane Harvey.”

That’s a grand understatement from one of TMOF’s favorite people in the game, whose organization has taken on a creative and potentially-groundbreaking restoration model of historic Gus Wortham Park’s course.

Under Timms, the Houston Golf Association has built one of the most successful First Tee operations in the country. Even more impressively, the Houston Open has been a mainstay fundraiser and PGA Tour stop, most famous in recent years for reinventing itself by mimicking Augusta National setup conditions in the ultimate pre-Masters opportunity.

With the PGA Tour’s planned schedule reboot in 2019, The Forecaddie is growing concerned for an event that is both a model and stalwart on the schedule going back to the days of Nelson and Hogan. With the PGA Championship’s move to May, The Players moving back to March and Valero’s commitment in San Antonio, there are reasons to be concerned about Houston’s place on the cramped schedule. But TMOF thinks a tournament played this long, in such a wealthy market and with more tangible community benefits than arguably any other PGA Tour event, deserves urgent attention this year and beyond.  

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