Golf Digest’s resident blogger, John Hawkins, is reporting the International tournament in Denver will be calling it quits, making this year its last event. According to the magazine, Jack Vickers, the creator of the tournament, will hold a press conference to discuss the end of the event. And he’s not happy, Hawkins says, feeling he’s been burned by the tour and its stars:
The announcement will end a rough final stretch for Vickers and the tournament he tried desperately to make one of the tours premier stops. In recent years, the Denver oilman even talked about offering a $10 million purse — about 50 percent larger than the total prize money of last years U.S. Open — in an effort to lure golfs biggest stars.
With a July date open, could that mean good news for the Canadian Open, which is saddled with a date following the British Open? Could our National Open move from a third tier tournament to a second tier event?
RCGA exec director Stephen Ross recently told me recently that the July 5-8 tournament would “be the ideal date” for the Canadian Open.
However, there’s a catch. According to GD, you need lots of cash, and well, a sponsor. Both are in short supply in Canada:
With the cost of hosting a tour stop running in excess of $8 million, however, title sponsorship falls somewhere between essential and mandatory.
But Ross said the television costs associated with the International’s date are double the current date (July 26-29), meaning it would cost about $2 million more, or about a total of $7 million Canadian annually in costs for the event.
Update: I just received a call from Stephen Ross this morning about the sponsorship and the International date. Ross wanted to make it clear that the Canadian Open sponsorship is now involves a $5 million cost, including the $2 million U.S. television deal, down from the $6 million that the RCGA was initially hoping for. The International date would add $2 million in costs to the event, bringing it to a total of $7 million (all figures in Canadian dollars). Ross added that when PGA Tour exec Ty Votaw was in down three weeks ago, the RCGA voiced its interest in the International’s date loudly and clearly.
I know Research In Motion has been tossed about as a potential sponsor, but it would take a whole lot of Pearl sales to cover that tab….
The entire GD post is here.