PGA Tour gets long title contract from Korean company

By Doug FergusonMay 7, 2009, 4:00 pm
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The PlayersPONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. ' The PGA Tour added its first new title sponsor since the economic meltdown Thursday and shored up its season opener in Kapalua by announcing a 10-year deal with Korea-based SBS International.
 
Seoul Broadcasting System also extended by seven years its exclusive agreement to show PGA Tour events in Korea.
 
The deals run through 2019.
 
The Tour has had mixed economic news this year. It is losing title sponsors in Phoenix, Milwaukee and Florida, while agreeing to contract extensions for four other tournaments through 2014.
 
But this represents its first new sponsor since the economys downturn last fall. SBS is the only media company to be a title sponsor on the PGA Tour, which has relied largely on the automobile and financial industry over the last decade.
 
It is significant in the sense that one of the things we are looking at now as we go out two years from now is the focus on perhaps spreading sponsorship over broader industry sectors, and not being so reliant as we have been in the past on the traditional industry sectors that have been supportive, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said.
 
This certainly is a step in that direction, he said. I dont know how many steps there will be in that direction, but this is one. And we think its very positive.
 
It also solves what was turning into a quandary in Hawaii.
 
Mercedes-Benz had been the title sponsor at Kapalua since 1999, but it became clear it would not renew its contract after 2010 when it signed deals to be the official car of the Masters, PGA Championship and the Northern Trust Open.
 
There also were questions of what to do with the Sony Open, held in Honolulu a week after the season opener. That deal also expires next year, although Finchem noted that 60 percent of the players at Kapalua stay over for Honolulu.
 
This will help the climate with Sony, Finchem said.
 
The new deal meant Mercedes-Benz was allowed out of its contract one year early. The Tours deal with Kapalua also was to expire next year, although Finchem said he expects the tournament will be played at Kapalua for the duration of the SBS contract.
 
Tour officials had been looking at alternative courses on Maui, but that was to appease Mercedes during those contract negotiations.
 
SBS had been the title sponsor of an LPGA tournament on Oahu, which ended this year. SBS president Sang Chun said its LPGA deal helped spur interest in golf in Korea, and he expects the same dynamic with its PGA Tour deal.
 
This is where were trying to make a bigger pie for the PGA Tour in Korea, Sang said.
 
The announcement came at a critical time for Kapalua, which had its greens redone a few years ago and last year completed hotel and villa renovations while wondering if it could find a new title sponsor.
 
The event has become part of our culture, tournament chairman Gary Planos said. We became accustomed to hosting the PGA, and we definitely wanted it to continue. Were pretty excited to have a bright future with SBS.
 
Even so, there was no guarantee it would attract Tiger Woods, who last played in 2005, or Phil Mickelson, who stopped coming after 2001.
 

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    Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

    “Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

    “That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

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    By Randall MellNovember 23, 2017, 2:54 pm

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    Sheridan, a long-time LPGA caddie who worked for some of the game’s all-time greats, including Kathy Whitworth and Beth Daniel, died Wednesday in Indian Rocks Beach, Fla., at 63. He was diagnosed in July 2016 with brain and lung cancer.

    Sheridan worked the last dozen years or so with Natalie Gulbis, who expressed her grief in an Instagram post on Wednesday:

    “Greg…I miss you so much already and it hasn’t even been a day. 15+ seasons traveling the world you carried me & my bag through the highs and lows of golf and life. You were so much more than my teammate on the course…Thank you.”

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    In a first-person column for Golf Magazine last year, Gulbis focused on Sheridan while writing about the special bond between players and caddies. She wrote that she won the “looper lottery” when she first hired Sheridan in ’04.

    “Greg and I have traveled the world, and today he is like family,” Gulbis wrote. “Sometimes, he’s a psychologist. Last year, my mom got sick and it was a distraction, but he was great. When I used to have boyfriend issues and breakup issues, he was my confidant. In a world where caddies sometimes spill secrets, Greg has kept a respectful silence, and I can’t thank him enough for that. He’s an extension of me.”

    Four months after Gulbis wrote the column, Sheridan was diagnosed with cancer.

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    Golf Channel reporter and former tour player Jerry Foltz:

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    LPGA caddie Shaun Clews:

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    LPGA caddie Kevin Casas:

    LPGA pro Jennie Lee: