Sports Outside the Beltway

Tour event in Atlanta discontinued due to lack of sponsor

The demise of the tournament had been rumored for a few months but it is still shocking. From AP-

ATLANTA — Atlanta is losing its regular PGA Tour event year after four decades because it could not find a title sponsor, paving the way for the Valero Texas Open to move its tournament to the spring.

The TPC Sugarloaf, which has hosted the tournament since 1997, could have the option of holding a Champions Tour event, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said Monday.

AT&T decided last year it would not renew its title sponsorship for the tournament, and the Atlanta Classic Foundation was unable to find a sponsor willing to invest $6 million to $8 million a year.

Finchem said losing the event was necessary to “solidify the schedule for the future.”

The Valero Texas Open, one of the oldest PGA Tour events that dates to 1922, is now part of the “Fall Series” of tournaments that fall after the Tour Championship. It is moving to a new golf course in 2010 and has ranked among the top events in charitable donations.

That a major city like Atlanta could lose a major sporting event would seem shocking. Two possible factors at work with the Atlanta Classic folding shop-

*- The weak US economy at present

*- Atlanta also hosts The Tour Championship.

Still I feel sad a tournament with a forty year history is no more.

The Texas Open moving to the Spring is a suprise also. That tournament, while one of the oldest events on the PGA Tour, has been a fall event dating back to 1972. From being an afterthought to most PGA Tour followers(including myself) to a date in the spring. Atlanta’s loss is the Texas Open’s gain I guess.

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