Farmers Insurance to sponsor Torrey Pines event


PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – The San Diego Open found a title sponsor one week before its tournament, the fourth new sponsor the PGA Tour has attracted in the last nine months.

The tour said Monday that Farmers Insurance Group has agreed to be title sponsor for at least the 2010 event, which starts Jan. 28 at Torrey Pines, with a long-term option. Terms were not released, although there has been severe discounts in similar situations.

It will be called the Farmers Insurance Open. The tournament, which dates to 1952, had been known as the Buick Invitational since 1992 until the automaker filed for bankruptcy and ended its sponsorship last year.

“Although this has been finalized on such short notice, it represents a substantial investment on Farmers’ part to help in the tournament’s success,” PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said. “We look forward to continuing our discussions with Farmers officials … in regard to the possibility of a longer-term partnership.”

Finding a title sponsor for San Diego was regarded as pivotal during economic uncertainty because it offered so much appeal – the first PGA Tour event on network TV, and where Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson typically begin their seasons.

Farmers Insurance, with headquarters in southern California, is a subsidiary of Swiss-based Zurich Financial Services, which is the title sponsor of the PGA Tour stop in New Orleans.

The Tour, along with renewing a half-dozen title sponsor contracts, has found four new companies to sponsors its events. The other three are Seoul Broadcasting System (Kapalua), Waste Management (Phoenix) and The Greenbrier (West Virginia).