Tim Rosaforte has an interesting column on the date shuffles surrounding the end of the Buick (this week is the last playing, and the move to the Greenbrier, which apparently doesn’t have a sponsor, but does have an owner with pots of money). Interesting to note the reference to the Canadian Open:
New player on tour?: The Greenbrier jumping in to grab the Buick Open date on the PGA Tour schedule, without a corporate title sponsor but with a resort owner trying to get eyeballs on his property, is a sign of our times. Jim Justice rescued the resort from bankruptcy, bought it for a song and is looking to invest in the PGA Tour. The flip side is the Detroit market losing its tour stop after 51 years on the schedule. What the Greenbrier has in history and tradition, it lacks in accessibility. White Sulphur Springs is not an easy get, so it’ll be interesting to see if Tiger and Phil fly their jets in there, or if it becomes a temporary patch to the tire. While Buick will end its sponsorship in Flint, tournament officials at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Ca. are going ahead with the understanding that the strapped automaker’s money will still be sponsoring the event. Also being discussed at tour headquarters is the possible swapping of dates between the Travelers Championship and the unsponsored event in Memphis. Travelers just re-upped and would like the spot before the U.S. Open, not after it. There’s also a chance in this shuffling that the RBC Canadian Open would get a better date than just after the British Open. And Herb Kohler’s name has been thrown into the group joining Jerry Kelly and Steve Stricker in an attempt to save the Milwaukee event.
There were plenty of theories being floated during the CDN Open last week, especially with Tim Finchem in the area talking to both RBC and the RCGA. He’s got a bunch of tournaments with sponsor problems and loves RBC and its huge market cap, especially since it isn’t being propped up by the gov’t, unlike most U.S. banks. So what did he want? Scott Simmons was on the Fan 590 last week and seemed to indicate RBC might be willing to expand its golf sponsorship — into the U.S. Where does RBC have interests in the U.S.? How about the RBC Raleigh Entertainment and Sports arena in North Carolina? What high-profile tournament in the area is looking for a sponsor? How about the Quail Hollow Championship, formerly the Wacchovia event. Great field. Great course. Sponsor doesn’t want to be part of it after acquiring Wacchovia. What about a two-fer? In other words, RBC helps out the PGA Tour out and in exchange, the Canadian Open gets a better date, and maybe RBC doesn’t have to put up the entire $3M it would cost to move the CDN Open. Interesting concept….