PGA Tour succeeding in signing up new sponsors, though going's tough

bill haas, bob hope classic
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The Bob Hope Classic, won by Bill Haas earlier this year, is one of the few PGA Tour events still without a sponsor for next season.
Doug Ferguson
Associated Press


Published: Wednesday, September 08, 2010 | 12:02 a.m.

With the PGA Tour getting closer to a new sponsor for the World Golf Championship at Doral, that leaves only three tournaments -- Memphis, Hilton Head and the Bob Hope Classic -- without title sponsors after 2010.

Seth Waugh, the CEO of Deutsche Bank Americas whose company just extended its deal for two years, understands better than most that the tour is emerging from a tough economic climate in amazing shape.

He recalls a phone conversation with PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem in the autumn of 2008.

"This crisis was really bad," Waugh said last week. "I said, 'Tim, I know everybody thinks it's bad, but I'm in the middle of it. And this is really bad. You need to start rethinking a lot of things.' I wasn't asking for anything, just giving him advice about being prepared.'

"They've done remarkably well," Waugh said. "I think it's a great reflection on the game and their own work ethic."

Finchem said signing up sponsors takes longer than it once did, and that there's far more scrutiny by companies when it comes to spending discretionary dollars. "But the scrutiny helps us, because compared with other sports, we pencil out pretty good."

That's not to suggest the PGA Tour is all clear.

The next big piece of the puzzle is a new television contract, with a six-year deal with the networks expiring after 2012.

"The first stage, they've done a good job," Waugh said. "The big one is going to be TV."