Nationwide Loses Arkansas Tournament

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Nationwide TourHOT SPRINGS VILLAGE, Ark. -- Organizers of the First Tee Arkansas Classic say the stop on the Nationwide Tour has not generated the money it hoped to pull in for youth golf and will end its affiliation with the professional tour.
 
The tournament at Diamante Country Club at Hot Springs Village has been played four times. Little Rock investment house Stephens Inc. is dropping its sponsorship of the event.
 
The PGA Tour owns and operates the Nationwide Tour.
 
'As a sporting event, our tournament was very successful,' said Frank Thomas, who was the Arkansas Classic chairman and is a spokesman for Stephens Inc. 'As an event that depends on volunteers, our tournament was very successful.'
 
Thomas would not discuss specifics of tournament finances but said organizers did not bring the money they expected into the First Tee program.
 
The Nationwide Tour's has one other stop in Arkansas -- the Rheem Classic at Hardscrabble Country Club in Fort Smith.
 
PGA vice president for tournament business affairs Bill Oakley said he plans to discuss keeping a second Nationwide Tour event in the state and said he would talk with golf courses in Little Rock.
 
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