Sources General Motors to end sponsorship of Buick Open

By Associated PressJuly 28, 2009, 4:00 pm
2006 Buick OpenDETROIT ' General Motors Co. will end its half-century run as sponsor of the Buick Open golf tournament as it tries to focus scarce marketing dollars on its cars and trucks, a person briefed on the decision said Tuesday.
 
GM and tour officials will make the announcement after this years open, which begins Thursday and ends Sunday, said the person, who did not want to be identified because the announcement will not be made until the tournament ends.
 
The decision calls into question the fate of the other PGA Tour stop sponsored by GM, the Buick Invitational held in February in San Diego.
 
GM spokesman Pete Ternes said the company is discussing its future role with PGA Tour officials. The companys contract for the Open and the Invitational ends in 2010, he said.
 
Both are under discussion and we havent signed or agreed to any changes at this point, he said Tuesday.
 
The troubled automaker, which emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on July 10, has been cutting back on professional sports sponsorships for the past year to conserve marketing dollars. Earlier this month the company placed longtime product development chief Bob Lutz in charge of marketing, and he has said the company will focus its advertising more on products.
 
GM, which has racked up more than $80 billion in losses in the past four years, is trying to spend more promoting its new vehicles, especially its cars, which it says are competitive or better than those made by its Japanese rivals.
 
The company is selling or phasing out its Pontiac, Saturn, Saab and Hummer brands and will concentrate on selling Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC.
 
The century-old automaker has been cutting back on everything from professional baseball to NASCAR in the past year. In 2008 GM ended a nine-year endorsement deal with golf superstar Tiger Woods, who will play in this weeks Buick Open in Grand Blanc Township, about 50 miles north of Detroit.
 
Yet Ternes said GM will continue to sponsor professional sports.
 
We will continue to be involved in the future, because they offer great platforms to get the word out about our new products, he said. However, as we reduce from eight brands to four, we will be looking closely at all our marketing relationships.
 
PGA Tour Executive Vice President Ty Votaw would not comment on GMs decision.
 
The automaker used to sponsor five stops on the PGA Tour, but pulled out of the Buick Challenge at Callaway Gardens, Ga., in 2002; the Buick Championship at Cromwell, Conn., near Hartford in 2006; and the Buick Classic in Harrison, N.Y. in 2004.
 
GM is watching every dollar it spends, and sponsoring PGA Tour events is not cheap. Golfers will compete for $5.1 million in prize money at the Buick Open, starting with Thursdays first round.
 
The automaker already has cut costs at the Open, ending a tradition of paying for dealers to travel to Michigan for the tournament and wining and dining select guests in lavish hospitality tents.
 
The end of GMs sponsorship is another ripple effect from the crisis hitting Detroits three automakers. Michigan had the nations highest unemployment rate last month at 15.2 percent, and the Flint area, where the tournament is held, reported 17.4 percent.
 
Loss of the Buick Open would be a big blow to the Flint area, which has seen wealth and people drained away by the decline of GM, once its largest employer.
 
The Buick Open is the most prestigious thing we do in this community, said Jerry Preston, president of the Flint Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. He estimated it has a $10 million to $12 million economic impact in the area.
 
Preston said tournament organizers havent heard from GM on its plans and said they would work to persuade the PGA to keep the event at Warwick Hills should GM bow out.
 
If we lose the sponsor there are several Michigan companies that are ready to step forward, he said. Were extremely grateful to Buick for being the sponsor all these years.
 
Both GM and Chrysler Group LLC had brief stays under bankruptcy court supervision and emerged this year free of staggering debt and burdensome contracts. The companies have received a total of $65 billion in federal aid.
 
Ford Motor Co. has avoided taking government aid by borrowing $23.5 billion before worldwide auto sales went into the worst slump in more than 25 years.
 
GolfWeek Magazine reported on its Web site last week that GM would end the PGA Tours longest partnership and a new sponsor and venue would replace Warwick Hills.
 
Kenny Perry, who will not play this week, won the tournament last year as it celebrated its 50th anniversary.
 
Vijay Singh has won a record three Buick Open titles. Woods, Perry, Julius Boros and Tony Lema have two Buick Open titles.
 
Woods provided the tournament with a boost last week when he committed to playing in Grand Blanc Township even though it will likely lead to him playing in three straight tournaments. He and rock legend Bob Seger highlight Wednesdays pro-am and will be followed by a throng of fans, starting with their 7 a.m. tee time.
 
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    Rose leads Koepka, Grillo by four at Colonial

    By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 9:06 pm

    On the strength of a 4-under 66 Saturday, Justin Rose will take an four-shot lead over Brooks Koepka and Emiliano Grillo into the final round of the Fort Worth Invitational. Here's where things stand through 54 holes at Colonial Country Club.

    Leaderboard: Rose (-14), Koepka (-10), Grillo (-10), Corey Conners (-8), Jon Rahm (-8), Louis Oosthuizen (-8), J.T. Poston (-8), Ryan Armour (-8)

    What it means: The fifth-ranked player in the world is 18 holes from his ninth PGA Tour victory and his second this season. Up once to start the third round, Rose extended his lead to as much as five with birdies on four of his first six holes. Through 54 holes, Rose has made XX birdies and just XX bogeys. The 2013 U.S. Open winner and 2016 Olympic gold medalist has a history of winning at iconic venues - Muirfield Village, Aronimink, Cog Hill, Doral, Merion and Congressional - and now looks to add Colonial to the list. He'll be chased on Sunday by Grillo, the young Argentianian who won his first Tour start as a member in 2015, and Koepka, last year's U.S. Open winner who continues to impress in his injury comeback despite ongoing wrist issues.  

    Round of the day: Corey Conners and Ted Potter both turned in 8-under 63. Potter was bogey-free and Conners came home in 6-under 29 on the back nine.

    Best of the rest: Jon Rahm, Louis Oosthuizen, Brian Harman, and Michael Thompson all signed for 64. Rahm called his six-birdie start the best 10 holes he's played so far this year. 

    Biggest disappointment: Jordan Spieth has finished second-first-second in the last three years at this event, but he's yet to find his normal Colonial form through three rounds. Spieth, who said Friday he was capable of shooting "10 or 12 under" over the weekend, shot even-par 70 Saturday. He sits in T-38 at 3 under for the week, 11 back.

    Shot of the day: Rory Sabbatini closed out his third round Saturday with this eagle holeout from 134 yards at the 18th. 

    His colorful scorecard featured three bogeys, two birdies, a double bogey and that eagle. It added up to a 1-over 71. 

    Getty Images

    McCarron closes with only bogey, shares lead

    By Associated PressMay 26, 2018, 8:49 pm

    BENTON HARBOR, Mich. - Scott McCarron, seeking a second senior major title to go with his 2017 Senior Players Championship, made his only bogey of the third round on the final hole to slip into a tie for the lead Saturday with Tim Petrovic in the Senior PGA Championship.

    They were at 13 under par after Petrovic, seeking his first major, shot 65. McCarron has shared the lead through three rounds.

    England's Paul Broadhurst, the 2016 British Senior Open winner, matched the best third-round score in tournament history with a 64. He was at 11 under.

    Miguel Angel Jimenez, coming off his first major championship last week at the Regions Tradition, shot 65 and was 9 under.

    Tom Byrum, who made a hole-in-one in shooting a 67, was in a group at 8 under.

    Getty Images

    Watch: Rose one-arms approach, makes birdie

    By Golf Channel DigitalMay 26, 2018, 7:25 pm

    Justin Rose appears to have taken a course in Hideki Matsuyama-ing.

    Already 3 under on his round through five thanks to a birdie-birdie-birdie start, Rose played this approach from 143 yards at the par-4 sixth.

    That one-armed approach set up a 6-foot birdie putt he rolled in to move to 4 under on his round and 14 under for the week, five clear of the field.

    Getty Images

    McIlroy battles back into tie for BMW PGA lead

    By Golf Channel DigitalMay 26, 2018, 4:09 pm

    Rory McIlroy got off to a rocky start on Saturday in the third round of the BMW PGA Championship, including hitting a spectator and making a double bogey. But after that incident on the sixth hole, he didn't drop another shot, birdieing the final hole to shoot a 1-under 71 and tie for the lead.

    McIlroy had gone into Moving Day with a three-shot lead, but Francesco Molinari had the round of the day, a 6-under 66. "It was nice keep a clean scorecard," said Molinari, who hasn't made a bogey since the 10th hole on Friday.


    Full-field scores from the BMW PGA Championship


    McIlroy and Molinari will be paired in Sunday's final round. They are tied at 13 under par, four shots clear of Ross Fisher, Branden Grace, Sam Horsfield and Alexander Noren.

    The Wentworth course ends with back-to-back par-5s, and McIlroy birdied both of them. He got a break on the 18th hole as his drive hit a spectator and bounced into light rough.

    "It was a struggle out there today," McIlroy said. "I think when you're working on a few things in your swing and the wind is up and you're stuck between trying to play different shots, but also try to play - you know, make good swings at it, I just hit some loose tee balls on the first few holes. But I'm proud of myself. I stayed patient. I actually - I'm feeling a bit better about myself after today than I was even walking off the course yesterday."