The Wachovia Championship at Charlottes Quail Hollow Club was renamed the Quail Hollow Championship on Friday. Even though Wells Fargo, which recently purchased Wachovia, is under contract to sponsor the tournament through 2014, the company decided to take the name off the event.
Given the merger integration with Wells Fargo and Wachovia, we believe it no longer makes sense to invest in promoting the Wachovia brand via the tournament, said David Carroll of Wells Fargos wealth management, brokerage and retirement services group.
In the current environment, we also believe that promoting this event with our brand could send mixed signals about our priorities to many of our stakeholders. Also, as a result, our company will not host any client entertainment events.
The decision comes less than a week after Northern Trust was criticized for hosting parties and other events in connection with its sponsorship of the PGA Tour event in suburban Los Angeles after it had taken $1.6 billion in government money.
Wells Fargo has received $25 billion from the government.
SportsBusiness Daily first reported Wells Fargos decision, which leaves officials scrambling to replace signs, merchandise and other items before the April 30-May 3 tournament.
Formed in 2003, the event has annually drawn sellout crowds and attracted one of the top fields for non-major tournaments. Tiger Woods, the 2007 winner, has led a parade of golfers who have praised the challenging course layout. Golfers have also raved about the perks, such as Mercedes courtesy cars, activities for players wives and lavish gifts.
We want to ensure the event continues to benefit the Charlotte economy and that fans and players have a terrific experience, said tournament director Kym Hougham.
Wachovia signed a new sponsorship deal during last years tournament, an agreement that rolled over to Wells Fargo after the purchase.
We support this name change and look forward to working with the tournament in continuing the positive business, charitable and economic impacts that have been generated by this event, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said in a statement.