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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Royal Bank to sponsor another PGA Tour golf event?

Harbourtown - Site of another RBC golf event?
 The  PGA Tour's Heritage golf tournament played at the beloved Harbour Town course in South Carolina, is without a sponsor and according to reports won't be played next year unless someone coughs up a few million dollars to support the event.
One of those companies being hit up by the PGA Tour is Canada's Royal Bank, already the sponsor of the RBC Canadian Open. RBC also sponsors the PGA of America, making it a "patron" of the Ryder Cup and the PGA Championship, and has its name on the bags and shirts of the likes of Jim Furyk, Matt Kuchar, Ernie Els, Mike Weir, Stephen Ames and Luke Donald. In all, RBC likely spends more than $15-million on golf marketing.
Will it take on another property?
Jim Little, the bank's chief brand officer, says it has been asked to look at the Heritage tournament by the PGA Tour, but there is no news beyond that.
"There's nothing to report," he said in an e-mail.
His comment comes despite reports from Hilton Head that RBC was poised to sign a 4-year deal to sponsor the tournament. RBC has significant retail banking operations in the area, so it would make sense on that level. The event would cost an estimated $8-million to sponsor.
One thing is clear -- there are a number of political forces rallying to save the tournament:
A full-court press of state leaders, including U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, were ready to help find a way for the tournament to continue.
"We'll find someone," said Duane Parrish, head of the state's Parks, Recreation and Tourism department. "This is too great of a price value for an organization to entertain, to get the exposure."
Even South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier put in a pitch for the state's PGA event.
"We're hoping the tournament stays here, a sponsor will show up so the PGA can keep this tournament here," he said.
Wilmot said his organization will push forward with usual post-event meetings with an eye to next year. There also will be a meeting with the PGA Tour about prospects for next year. Wilmot didn't want the focus of this year's tournament to be the event's future.

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