Sponsorship Still a Problem at Reno-Tahoe Open
The Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority board of directors had intended to cut its contribution for the Aug. 18-21 tournament from $250,000 last year to $125,000 this year.
But last-minute appeals Thursday night from tournament officials and Reno Mayor Bob Cashell helped keep the support intact.
'We will embarrass the region if we are not able to pull this off this year,' Cashell said during the RSCVA board meeting.
The meeting to approve the authority's fiscal 2005-2006 budget highlighted ongoing concerns about the future of the PGA tournament at Montreux Golf and Country Club.
'I propose a meeting in September to make a decision if we are going to keep the RTO or drop it, but dropping it now, 90 days out, will put a stain on this region for bringing in other events,' Cashell said.
Tourney officials said they need to make up about $500,000 from decreased sponsorships this year, and that the RSCVA's contribution is vital.
'If I can't get your hundred and a quarter and I can't get the other people, we'll have to kill it,' Cashell said.
The 7-year-old tournament still has no title sponsor. The RSCVA contributed $500,000 in 1999 and 2000, but cut its annual sponsorship to $250,000 in 2001.
The Reno Gazette-Journal was among those who pulled back the amount of their sponsorship last year.
Tournament Director Jim Kline said after the meeting he will have to find support to make up for the remaining $375,000 shortfall left by sponsors that have pulled back since last year, including Tessco Technologies, AT&T and Saint Marys Health Network.
'I just don't like the fact that anybody thinks this kills the event or something,' Kline told the Gazette-Journal.
Fred Boyd, chairman of the RTO foundation, said during the meeting that he is aware of the 'ups and downs of RSCVA finances' but urged the authority to maintain the current sponsorship level.
Some RSCVA board members said they were frustrated with the continual requests to fund the event, the economic effect of which is hard to gauge.
'Fred, I really want you to know I love your event, although I wish it were done better,' Chairman Dave Miller said. He said the RSCVA already has given the RTO $2 million, more than any other special event.
'I am not really thrilled about us being held hostage with the threat we are going to kill this tournament,' Miller said. 'You are $500,000 short for this event this year. I still think $125,000 is a really good amount by the way.'
Reno Councilman Dwight Dortch proposed approving $250,000 in funding, but taking Mayor Cashell up on his offer to meet in September to determine future funding, to which the board agreed.
'I don't believe the RTO as it currently stands with the level of players is bringing visitors here,' Reno Hilton President Tim Maland said.
The RTO, shown on cable via The Golf Channel, is the same weekend as the World Golf Championships-NEC invitational in Akron, Ohio, which attracts the top-ranked golfers. The television contract is good through next year, and is being negotiated through 2010, Kline said.
Some echoed Miller's offense at being under the gun to keep the event afloat.
'If I get another e-mail like the one I just got, I will not support this again,' Washoe County Commissioner Bob Larkin said.
He said after the meeting that he was not suggesting the event go away, but that he did not like the tone of the e-mail sent by the RTO to the board members stating that the tournament directors would take a negative view of the region if the RSCVA cut funding.
RSCVA President Jeff Beckelman said the authority should have more money in its budget because it will not lose as much as predicted at the remodeled Reno-Sparks Convention Center this year.
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Thompson wins Race, loses tournament after short miss
The drama went down to the very last hole in the LPGA's final event of 2017. Here's how things ended up at the CME Group Tour Championship, where a surprising miss from Lexi Thompson opened the door for Ariya Jutanugarn to win in dramatic fashion:
Leaderboard: Ariya Jutanugarn (-15), Lexi Thompson (-14), Jessica Korda (-14), Pernilla Lindberg (-13), Eun-Hee Ji (-13)
What it means: There were scenarios aplenty entering the final round, with nearly every season-long accolade still hanging in the balance. Thompson appeared set to take them all as she sized up a 2-foot par putt on the final hole - a stroke that looked like it would take her to world No. 1 for the first time. Instead, the putt barely touched the hole and allowed Jutanugarn to rally to victory with birdies on the closing two holes. Thompson still took home $1 million for winning the season-long Race to the CME Globe, as it was a reverse scenario from last year when Jutanugarn won the $1 million but not the final tournament.
Round of the day: Sei Young Kim made the day's biggest charge, turning in a 6-under 66 to close the week in a share of 11th at 10 under. Kim made eight birdies during the final round, including five over her first eight holes en route to her lowest round of the week while erasing a third-round 75.
Best of the rest: Jutanugarn seemed like an afterthought as the tournament was winding down, but she kept her hopes alive with an 18-foot birdie on No. 17 and then capitalized on Thompson's mistake with a clutch birdie on the difficult final hole. It capped off a final-round 67 for the Thai who now ends what has been a tumultuous season with a smile on her face.
Biggest disappointment: Thompson faced heartbreak after the penalty-shrouded ANA Inspiration, and she again must handle a setback after essentially missing a tap-in with everything on the line. Thompson can enjoy a $1 million consolation prize along with the Vare Trophy, but a tournament win would have clinched Player of the Year honors as well as her first-ever trip to world No. 1. Instead, she now has the entire off-season to think about how things went awry from close range.
Shot of the day: There were only three birdies on No. 18 during the final round before Jutanugarn laced one down the fairway and hit a deft approach to 15 feet. The subsequent putt found the target and gave her win No. 7 on her young LPGA career.
Watch: Fleetwood gets emotional with family after Race to Dubai win
Tommy Fleetwood took home the season-long Race to Dubai title on Sunday after a T-21 finish at the DP World Tour Championship.
He was, understandably, emotional after learning his fate while sitting with his wife and baby following a career year in which he won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship and the French Open and finished fourth at the U.S. Open.
Luckily for us, cameras were rolling:
Matsuyama after Koepka rout: 'Huge gap between us'
Hideki Matsuyama offered a blunt assessment after finishing 10 shots behind Brooks Koepka at the Japan Tour's Dunlop Phoenix event.
Koepka waxed the field en route to successfully defending his title in Japan, shooting a 20-under par total that left him nine shots clear of a runner-up group that included PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele. Koepka's score was one shot off the tournament record, and his margin for victory eclipsed Tiger Woods' eight-shot romp in 2004.
Matsuyama appeared set to make a final-round charge after a birdie on No. 2 was followed by an ace on the par-3 third hole. But he played the next eight holes in 3 over and eventually finished alone in fifth place following a 2-under 69. Afterwards, he stacked his game up against that of Koepka in a telling comment to the Japan Times.
"I feel there's a huge gap between us," Matsuyama said.
The Japanese phenom entered the week ranked No. 4 in the world, though he will be passed in the next rankings by Jon Rahm following the Spaniard's win in Dubai. Matsuyama won twice this year on the PGA Tour, including the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, but he has largely struggled since missing out on a maiden major title at the PGA Championship, where he tied for fifth.
Matsuyama was a runner-up to Koepka at the U.S. Open earlier this summer, and the 25-year-old seems headed back to the drawing board before defending his title at the Hero World Challenge in two weeks.
"I don't know whether it's a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well," Matsuyama said. "It seems there are many issues to address."
McCormick to caddie for Spieth at Aussie Open
When Jordan Spieth returns next week to defend his title at the Australian Open, he will do so without his regular caddie on the bag.
Spieth and Michael Greller have combined to win 14 tournaments and three majors, including three events in 2017. But Greller's wife, Ellie, gave birth to the couple's first child on Oct. 13, and according to a report from the Australian Herald Sun he will not make the intercontinental trip to Sydney, where Spieth will look to win for the third time in the last four years.
Instead, Spieth will have longtime swing coach and native Aussie Cameron McCormick on the bag at The Australian Golf Club. McCormick, who won PGA Teacher of the Year in 2015, is originally from Melbourne but now lives in Texas and has taught Spieth since he was a rising star among the junior golf ranks in Dallas.
While Greller has missed rounds before, this will be the first time as a pro that Spieth has used a different caddie for an entire event. Greller was sidelined with an injury last year in Singapore when Spieth's agent, Jay Danzi, took the bag, and trainer Damon Goddard has subbed in twice when Greller was sick, including this year at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational.
Spieth's torrid 2015 season traced back to his win at The Australian in 2014, and he returned to Oz last year where he won a playoff at Royal Sydney over Cameron Smith and Ashley Hall.