Colonial event finds sponsors for 2018, gets new name

TV times for the 2017 Dean & DeLuca Invitational Getty Images

Colonial event finds sponsors for 2018, gets new name

PGA Tour

Colonial event finds sponsors for 2018, gets new name

Since Dean & DeLuca pulled out of its six-year sponsorship agreement after last season, officials of the PGA Tour’s annual Tour stop at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, have been searching for a replacement.

They announced a temporary solution on Wednesday, as four companies – American Airlines, AT&T, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway and XTO Energy Inc. – contributed $2 million each to keep the event on the calendar this season. The tournament also received a new name. The Fort Worth Invitational will take place May 24-27.

“We are thrilled, and think it very appropriate, that this year’s tournament will be named the Fort Worth Invitational,” Colonial president Rob Doby said in a release. “The City of Fort Worth, the business community and our fans have played a huge role over many decades in making this event what it is today. It is as much their tournament as it is the members of Colonial Country Club.”

However, questions remain for 2019 and beyond. Dean & DeLuca was just two years into its deal before backing out of its deal, and this year’s solution is a one-time arrangement. What happens next? Who steps up? And if the event does find a sponsor, where does it end up on the Tour’s evolving schedule that includes the PGA Championship moving to mid-May next season?

“If you don’t have a title sponsor that makes it difficult for host organizations to move forward, but with the help of the Tour we are talking to some prospective sponsors and I don’t have any intention of being anywhere else but on the schedule in 2019 and beyond,” Colonial tournament director Michael Tothe told Golf Channel.

The Colonial event, first played in 1946, is the longest-running PGA Tour event that still is hosted at its original site.

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