Always looking for a golf angle on the news, it occurred to me that the PGA Tour could suffer some sponsorship difficulties as a result of therecent financial market crisis. By my count, eleven of the tournament title sponsors this past year were financial services or banking companies, including: the FBR Open, the Northern Trust Open, the Accenture World Golf Classic, the Zurich Classic, Bay Hill (Mastercard), the Wachovia, the Memorial (Morgan Stanley), the Travelers Championship, the US Bank – Milwaukee, the Barclays Championship, and the Deutsche Bank Championship.
At least one of those companies—Wachovia—is acknowledged to be in trouble. Citigroup has just announced that they will buy Wachovia’s banking arm
Considering the trouble the Tour has had recently in finding replacement sponsors, I wonder what the result of all of this will be. Perhaps a shorter season. The remaining sponsors could be all be tucked into the schedule between January and the Tour Championship, killing off the Fall Series. That would make the big guns, who have been pressing for a shorter season, happier anyway.
I’m also wondering if a shortage of big money sponsors could prompt American stars to head out for the European Tour or other international events, as Phil has threatened to do. There, they can get appearance fees just for showing up.
I’m sure we will hear more about this in the coming weeks, as next year’s schedule is set.