Sports Outside the Beltway

Verizon ends sponsorship of S. Carolina PGA Tour stop

Not just the LPGA Tour is having difficulty retaining sponsors in present economic climate. From AP-

The Verizon Heritage, one of the PGA Tour’s most popular spring tournaments, is losing its longtime, namesake sponsor after 2010.

Verizon Business’ move came less than week after commissioner Tim Finchem discussed the potential loss of PGA Tour marketing partners and tournaments because of continuing problems with the economy.

“It’s never good news, but again what makes it tougher, is the economic climate,” Steve Wilmot, the Verizon Heritage tournament director, told The Associated Press by phone Tuesday.

Verizon Business, then MCI, first came on as a sponsor at the Hilton Head Island tour stop in 1987. Verizon Business marketing vice president Becky Carr says the company decided to restructure future involvement with the PGA Tour to focus on select events it feels offer more opportunities for development.

The PGA Tour has promised to look for a new sponsor so the tournament can continue on past 2010. Heritage has survived difficulties on the past. It severed ties with the bankrupt Worldcom corporation after the 2002 edition of the tournament.

Some interesting facts about this tournament beneath the fold.

*- Arnold Palmer won the inaugural event.

*- The Harbour Town Golf Links features some of the smallest greens on the PGA Tour. Due to this, players find themselves chipping the ball more often than they do in other tournaments. As a result, the tournament has been the site of several tour putting records. George Archer for one, who only took 94 putts in 72 holes at a 1980′s edition of the tournament.

Note- The PGA Tour now claims the record set by Archer is 95. Except I got old record books from the 80′s that say 94. I’ve argued this subject with the PGA Tour, they stick to the 95 mark.

*- The tournament has a lengthy list of two-time winners which include Hale Irwin, Johnny Miller, Hubert Green, the late Payne Stewart and more recently Stewart Cink and Boo Weekley,

Only Davis Love III(5 times) and Hale Irwin(3 times) have won the tournament more than twice.

*- In recent memory the tournament has been played the week after the Masters. In the 70′s and 80′s it was usually played two weeks prior.

*- Tiger Woods only played at Hilton Head in 1999. He finished tied for 18th.

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