PALM BEACH GARDENS — The Honda Traditional isn’t going wherever.
Now not will it’s the Honda Traditional following this yr’s occasion that begins Feb. 23 at PGA Nationwide. However there can be a traditional. What’s it’s known as remains to be being negotiated.
“The (PGA) tour has little interest in dropping us off the schedule,” government director Andrew George stated.
“We’re actually enthusiastic about what ’24 and past goes to appear like. The thrill of a brand new title (sponsor)and 42 years of constructing blocks (with Honda) and now let’s take it up a notch once more.”
As a result of Honda Motors is ending the longest uninterrupted title sponsorship deal for a PGA Tour occasion following this yr’s event, it doesn’t imply the occasion will vanish.
Might it’s moved within the schedule to provide the event a extra fascinating spot that may increase the sector? Sure. The truth is, that may be very seemingly sooner or later.
Shifting it, or loosening the schedule round Honda, is important. The PGA Tour designating it as an elevated occasion with a $20 million purse can be a serious increase and end in a discipline we’ve got not seen right here for the reason that 1987 PGA Championship was held on the identical course.
However that additionally means we may have a future PGA Tour occasion in our space wherever from-mid January to mid-April.
The one certainty is when a Honda vehicle is floated within the lake by the 18th inexperienced this week, will probably be the final time.
Tour working each day to seek out sponsor
The PGA Tour, George’s employees, the Honda Traditional board and Jack and Barbara Nicklaus – the Nicklaus Youngsters’s Well being Care Basis has been the first charitable beneficiary of the event since 2007 – are working towards signing a brand new title sponsor.
These talks began earlier than it was introduced about three months in the past that Honda was ending its contract.
“I believe it is a level of consolation for us understanding there is a group on the PGA Tour that simply focuses on time and sponsorship,” George stated. “They get up each day excited about how are we going to switch the Honda Traditional. Instantly they began with a fantastic listing.”
George stated 40 to 50 firms had been on the unique listing and that quantity has been narrowed to about 5. Whereas the event has struggled with attracting sturdy fields in recent times primarily due to the place is falls within the PGA Tour schedule, the occasion nonetheless stays one the tour can promote due to the situation, market, development and philanthropy. With Honda as a sponsor, greater than $50 million has been contributed to nationwide and native charities, together with a file $6.45 million final yr.
“That is due to what we have finished during the last 17 years,” stated George, referencing the years Honda has been held at PGA Nationwide. “It is due to the connection with Jack and Barbara, due to the situation in South Florida.”
It was not way back that this event was a gem on the tour due to the laborious work of longtime government director Ken Kennerly and George, who was named Kennerly’s successor in Might, amongst others. A time when the Honda Traditional discipline was among the many strongest on tour exterior of the majors.
In 2014, seven of the highest 9 on the earth took on the problem of the Champion Course. The subsequent two years greater than half of the highest 20 had been within the discipline.
Honda turns into title sponsor in 1982
The event began in 1972 because the Jackie Gleason Inverrary Traditional and performed at Inverrary Golf and Nation Membership in Lauderhill. Honda turned a sponsor in 1981. Three years later, it was moved to Eagle Hint in Coral Springs and renamed the Honda Traditional.
The occasion moved to Weston Hills Nation Membership and Heron Bay earlier than relocating to Palm Seashore County in 2003 the place it was held at Mirasol for 4 years earlier than transferring throughout PGA Boulevard to PGA Nationwide.
The tour isn’t going to hurry into naming this sponsor. They clearly acquired the final one proper so the priority has been set for a protracted, lasting relationship with the appropriate associate.
“We’d sacrifice timing for getting the appropriate associate, no less than in my view,” George stated. “We will plan for the event the identical means it might be earlier than, in order that half would not get held up by a title (sponsor). We all know we may be flip key. If somebody signed up in September, we’re nonetheless going to have a fantastic showcase for them in yr one.”
However in some ways, the timing couldn’t be higher for the tour to provide the event an enormous increase. What higher option to throw its help behind an occasion that has been caught in arguably probably the most undesirable spot on the PGA Tour schedule in recent times by telling potential sponsors it is going to turn out to be an elevated occasion in 2024.
This text initially appeared on Palm Seashore Publish: Title sponsor list for PGA Tour’s Honda Classic narrowed down to five