BETHESDA, Md. – Web.com, a Jacksonville, Fla.-based website design and hosting company, will replace Nationwide as the umbrella sponsor of the PGA Tour’s secondary circuit officials announced Wednesday at Congressional Country Club.
The 10-year deal ends months of speculation and maneuvering by the Tour to replace Nationwide, which had been the umbrella sponsor since 2003. Details of the agreement were not announced and the changeover to the new sponsor will happen immediately.
Tour commissioner Tim Finchem called the new deal an “ideal match,” although Web.com, which went public in 2005, didn’t become part of the conversation until “three, four months” ago, the commissioner conceded.
In an attempt to make the circuit more attractive to a potential partner the Tour announced earlier this year a dramatic makeover of the PGA Tour qualifying system that makes the secondary circuit the primary avenue to membership.
Beginning next season the top 75 players from the Web.com Tour money list and Nos. 126-200 in PGA Tour earnings will play a three-event series with the top 50 finishers earning Tour cards for the 2013-14 season.
Although both Finchem and Web.com CEO David Brown said the agreement was not contingent on the qualifying changes, the realignment certainly added to the new deal.
“Going forward the way the structure will be starting next year is more of integration with the PGA Tour, which is kind of what prior sponsors of this tour have always talked about. They'd like to see a closer relationship,” Finchem said. “(Web.com) saw that given the restructure.”
Web.com is the fifth umbrella sponsor of the secondary circuit, which began in 1990 as the Ben Hogan Tour. In 1993 Nike became the umbrella sponsor followed briefly by Buy.com in 2000 and Nationwide in ’03.