Garcia Lobbies for Booz Allen


POTOMAC, Md. - If defending champion Sergio Garcia has his way, the Booz Allen Classic will be around for a while.
Its such a great city with so much history, he said Tuesday. It is a bit of a shame.
The tournament might cease to exist if organizers cant find a new title sponsor soon. Booz Allens three-year deal expires with this years tournament, June 22-25. That leaves in limbo the tours only stop in the Washington area.
Garcia never played the tournament until last year, when it was held the week before the U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club in a one-year arrangement with the venue.
Garcia is playing this year because he wants to defend his title. But it will be his first time playing the TPC at Avenel, a course that could use an overhaul after drawing searing reviews over the years from the likes of Greg Norman and Nick Price.
Ive always enjoyed defending my titles, and this wasnt going to be any different, Garcia said during a conference call. Ive heard good things about the course.
The field is expected to be less than stellar, with many top names taking the routine week off following a major.
Its got its good things and its bad things, Garcia said. The bad thing is you come off the U.S. Open, its always tough and you might be worn out. The good thing is after being on a U.S. Open course, every course seems easy.
The PGA Tour decided to move the tournament from the spring to the third weekend in September starting in 2007, offering a regular but less prestigious spot on the calendar.
Drawing a marquee field in September will have its challenges. Skinner expects the tournament to be played the week after the Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup in alternate years, which might appeal to top players who didnt qualify for those team events.
Booz Allen Hamilton chairman Ralph Shrader, feeling his company couldnt have the world-class event it wanted in the fall, decided not to renew the sponsorship contract.
Hopefully, over the next several weeks, well be able to pull something off, said Steve Skinner, president of Kemper Sports Management, which runs the tournament.
There is also the possibility of a piecemeal arrangement of several sponsors: Booz Allen Hamilton, for example, has said it will put down $1 million as a secondary sponsor next year.
The tour has agreed to work with us, is holding the date for us, Skinner said. Theyd like to get it wrapped up as quickly as possible, as would we. But sometimes these things take time.
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