The Deutsche Bank Championship is in the final year of its title sponsorship agreement, and so far the Labor Day weekend tournament has been unable to secure a new deal that would guarantee its place on the PGA Tour schedule for 2011.
“I would have thought we would have an answer for you by now,” Seth Waugh, the CEO of Deutsche Bank Americas, said at the tournament’s media day Monday. “We know what we want to do. We’re waiting for some answers.”
Deutsche Bank has sponsored the event since its inception in 2003, originally with a four-year commitment that was renewed for another four years. The bank has an option to extend the deal another two years, through 2012, and Waugh was optimistic that would happen.
“I like our chances to stay involved,” he said. “I hope we’ll be able to talk at Labor Day about keeping the tour in New England for years to come.”
Waugh would not elaborate on what might be holding up the deal. Deutsche Bank reported strong earnings last week, but the sluggish economy has forced companies with all kinds of sponsorships in all kinds of sports to re-examine their arrangements.
“If it comes down to jobs at the bank or us sponsoring the golf tournament, it’s not a fair fight,” Waugh said. “But those two things aren’t mutually exclusive.”
Waugh said the bank is pleased with the way the sponsorship deal has increased its profile in New England, provided a fun benefit for its clients and also added a charitable component. He said it was not a matter of spending less on the event, but on spreading the money around in a different way.
Waugh also said the bank was standing by the Tiger Woods Foundation in spite of Woods’ troubles since a Thanksgiving fender-bender led to revelations that he was having serial extramarital affairs. Waugh noted that Deutsche Bank is not a sponsor of Woods; it’s a partner in a tournament that benefits his charity.
“They’ve been a great partner,” Waugh said. “I’m a big believer that when you have great partners and they need help, that you help them, you don’t abandon them. Obviously, they have issues. We’re excited and proud to be partners with them.”
A bigger problem would be Woods’ absence from the tournament. Woods, who has played in only seven tour events so far this season, was 111th on the FedExCup points list and would need to move up to make it into the 100-person field at the TPC of Boston.
“Obviously, we all want Tiger to be here,” Waugh said. “But if he’s not, we have the best 100 players in the world.”