Sports Outside the Beltway

The International is no more

There is now a hole in the PGA Tour schedule. From AP-

DENVER – The International is no longer on the PGA Tour schedule because Tiger Woods and key corporate sponsors stayed away from the majestic mountain course at the foothills of the Rockies.

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem and tournament officials spent the last two weeks in a final effort to find a corporate sponsor, but talks with two potential partners fell apart. The International has been without a title sponsor since 1999, and without any corporate sponsorship since 2003.

The tournament, known for its unique scoring system on a Castle Pines golf course in the mile-high air outside Denver, needed $8.5 million in sponsorships, and Jack Vickers, founder and president of Castle Pines Golf Club, said cutting corners simply wasn’t an option.

“I’m either going to do it right or I’m not going to do it,” he said Thursday. So, he decided to withdraw from the Tour “rather than compromise our high standards or assume financial risk on behalf of our membership.”

Finchem said the stumbling blocks to sponsorship were plenty.

“We had a strong price point. We had declining ratings the last three or four years. We had questions about the date and the combination is what worked against us,” Finchem said. “It wasn’t any one thing.”

Yet the biggest factor was the absence of Woods, who hadn’t played in the event since 1999.

If a tournament’s sucess or failure rides on just one player, maybe that tournament isn’t meant to be. The International with its stableford scoring format made it a different tour stop. It will be missed by me.

Now the PGA has a week to fill on its schedule. I thought this only happened with the LPGA.

At a news conference, both Finchem and Vickers said they would try to bring the PGA Tour back to the Denver area.

The cancellation leaves a hole in the PGA Tour schedule on July 5-8, but tour officials have been working on a contingency plan the last month and are expected to announce a replacement by April.

The leading candidate is Washington, the largest U.S. market without a PGA Tour event. The nation’s capital had a tour event since 1968, but that presumably ended when title sponsor Booz Allen bailed out last year because it was not part of the FedExCup portion of the PGA Tour schedule.

I’ll say it again, does anyone in the golf media ever fact check? If its not six error extravaganzas, it is a story with one little easy to check mistake. The PGA Tour was not in DC since 1968 but since 1980. The tournament, originally the Kemper Open and later the Booz Allen, began in 1968 but was first played in Massachusetts and then North Carolina from 1968 to 1979. This mistake was reported by AP by the error prone Doug Ferguson last year, I contacted AP with the correction then but another reporter for that wire service falls into the same trap.

These dummies who cover golf can’t seem to agree either. Here is a golf writer who says the tournament came to DC in 1983!

Cross posted at Poliblog’s Deportes and The Florida Masochist

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