The Tampa area PGA Tour stop could be in jeopardy beyond 2008. From ESPN-
Less than a year after signing on as title sponsor of the PGA Tour event near Tampa, PODS Inc., is considering asking out of its deal, putting the future of the tournament in question beyond 2008.
PODS officials asked the PGA Tour for an extension until the end of December on its decision to renew sponsorship of the PODS Championship beyond 2008 — although PODS franchisees were originally told that the deal would not be extended beyond the March 6-9 event at the Innisbrook Golf Resort in Palm Harbor, Fla.
Complicating the situation is the fact that the Clearwater, Fla.-based company is in the process of being sold, according to a PODS franchisee who did not wish to be identified.
Mark Calcavecchia won the 2007 event, which from 2003-2006 was called the Chrysler Championship and played in the fall.
The portable storage unit company signed a six-year agreement in January to sponsor the PODS Championship through 2012. But the company had an option to withdraw after two years.
The tournament was one of the big winners when the PGA Tour announced its new FedEx Cup schedule, which began this year. When the Players Championship moved to May, it created an opening on the Florida Swing; the PODS event moved from its former fall date.
But the tournament has had sponsorship issues. Started in 2000 as an opposite event to the World Golf Championships, the tournament first had Buick as a title sponsor before that car company gave way to Chrysler. After four years, Chrysler bowed out, leaving the tournament scrambling until securing PODS just weeks before the 2007 tournament.
PODS is contracted to sponsor the 2008 tournament, which will go on as scheduled.
Sponsors of pro golf tournaments come and go. In the seventies celebrity sponsors/associations were common. Today only this tournament still has a celebrity connected to it. Note that Bob Hope has been dead since 2003, but comedian George Lopez is sort of a unofficial host today.
More troubling than PODS possible cancellation, is the fact the tournament seems to have trouble keeping or getting a corporate sponsor. That makes me think this tournament, which I sometimes call the KJ Choi Championship for the Korean golfer has two wins there and a T-6 since 2002, will have an abbreviated history.
If the Tampa Bay area tour stop becomes defunct, what tournament would replace it on the tour schedule. Two long-time PGA Tour stops, The Texas Open(I believe is the 2nd or 3rd oldest non-major on tour) and the Walt Disney World event(which has been played since the early 70′s), were relegated to the Fall tour after the creation of the Fedex Cup. It would only seem fair these tournaments would get a shot at returning to the regular season..
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